This is an intriguing book exploring the timeless appeal of miniature objects and worlds, and the fascinating implications that lie behind their creation.There is a true fascination with all things miniature and with the skills involved in creating a miniature masterpiece. Miniatures have an intrinsic aesthetic quality: they are objects of allure, or of awe. Who could fail to be beguiled by an exquisite Elizabethan miniature painting, an intricately carved Japanese netsuke, the words of the "Lord's Prayer" written on a minute jewelled clasp, or an eighteenth-century Italian micro-mosaic (a gem-like work of technical virtuosity)?But small things also possess a capacity to act upon the world and evoke responses which far exceed their physical dimensions. They might be imbued, for instance, with talismanic, religious or magical properties.In this thought-provoking book, the author not only celebrates the art of the miniature object, but looks beyond it at the many aspects of 'small worlds'. He explores the concentrated messages that can be conveyed in the miniature form and how this is exploited in different cultural contexts for a variety of purposes.
He also assesses the importance of relative scale and questions how 'miniature' can be defined. How large or small can a miniature be? Is a map a miniaturization of a larger world? What is the point of something that is almost too small to be seen by the human eye? From Gulliver to King Kong, classical art to surrealism, Aristotle to the Yoruba - in this intriguing book can be found the exquisite and the esoteric; the wondrous and the weird.The chapters and themes are as follows: Small is Beautiful: The mathematics of the miniature, materials, the miniaturist, micro mosaics, the microcoscopist, of lice and lace; The Colossal and the Diminutive: The measure of all things, Hercules and the Gods, temples and temple carts, museums as arks, microcosms and models, the gross and the exquisite; Visualising Small Worlds: Artists and boxes, gardens as small worlds, maps and microcosms, pilgrim sites; Seeing Hidden Things: Divining the world, sightedness; Small Bodies:The body as microcosm, shrunken heads, child marriage, constructing childhood, toys and dolls, living dolls; Small as Powerful: Empowered material, magical gems, medicines; and Private Pleasures: Courtly dalliance, the discreet charm of the netsuke, miniatures and proverbs, and the secret and the esoteric.
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