Book Review

Ethnic Jewellery and Adornment – by Truus Daalder

Author: Truus Daalder 
Photographs: Jeremy Daalder
Editor: Joost Daalder ISBN: 978-1-921394-28-7 
Published by Ethnic Art Press, Adelaide, 2009 
Macmillan, Melbourne, 2009

Ethnic Jewellery and Adornment

This impressive book records an eclectic collection of items used for adornment from Australia, Oceania, Asia and Africa.
The book features 700 items, the majority of which are from the collection of Joost and Truus Daalder. Further items are featured which are the property of the South Australian Museum.
The clear images within give the reader an experience similar to seeing the pieces in a museum. The captions accompanying each photograph, give easily accessible and clear data for each object. This approach makes the book great for browsing and simply enjoying the images. However for those wishing to explore further there is a bibliography for each image which offers further insight and historical context for each piece.
The references and sources quoted in the book add a wider context to the information given, allowing those with the thirst for a quest a trail with which to continue their study.

This book brings aboriginal adornment into the ethnic jewel ‘arena’ alongside adornment of other more frequently recorded areas. This is an important element of what the book offers, and it to my knowledge the first serious publication covering this seldom recorded area of tribal adornment.

The variation in materials used to adorn is well shown within the collection, and the significance to the wearer is frequently very well documented. This offers fruitful concepts to both the anthropologist, historian and the designer, and serves all well in respect of information and inspiration.
The book itself is beautifully presented, the photographs are clear and precise, the quality of the print and the ‘fabric’ of the book are instantly a delight.
As a recording of the historical data relevant to the adornments this book delivers, as a visually pleasing items it succeeds and to simply browse the images is a rewarding experience.
The book is robust and large, and therefore heavy ( 3.7 kilos) this has resulted in moderately high postage costs for prospective purchasers on a worldwide basis.
Does the content warrant the extra expense?
In balance my answer is ‘Yes!’

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