Silver treasures from the land of Sheba. by Marjorie Ransom
review by Sarah Corbett
Author – Marjorie Ransom
Photography – Robert K . Liu
ISBN – 978 977 416 600 6
Published by www.aucpress.com – 2014
Whilst working in the diplomatic service in the Middle East, Marjorie Ransom began to ‘rescue’ silver jewels from the melting pot. Marjorie studied the origins and cultural history of those pieces of adornment. During two postings to Yemen, her collection of local jewellery and her understanding of them grew.
A long and rich history of jewellery artisans exists in Yemen; The Queen of Sheba was documented in the bible as, “Taking silver and gold from Yemen” . Silver Mines in Iran, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan along with the trade in silver coins via the silk routes fed the early jewellers of the Yemen with materials. Later the Austrian silver coins known as Marie Therese Thalers became the main source of silver.
In her beautifully recorded book Marjorie takes us on a journey from those biblical times, visiting each significant region and showing the styles, cultural reactions to the environment and society which are reflected in the nuances of style shown in her collection.
The beautiful photographs by Robert K . Liu bring to life these artworks of filligree and granulation, alongside views of the differing landscapes and environs. This juxtaposition gives context to the beauty and the addition of the regional textiles brings a well rounded understanding to the reader; in fact a virtually immersive experience.
The main time frame of the book is the pieces of 20th century adornment within Marjorie’s collection, earlier pieces will be showcased in an eagerly awaited second edition, which will also illuminate the history of the jewellers who crafted these wearable works of art.
“I feel that this book reflects a deep love of the adornments, people, culture and history of a beautiful, yet sadly inaccessible area of the world. Projects, such as this, which spotlight the beauty of places which are troubled are key to promoting cultural awareness beyond the all too frequent focus on the difficulties alone.
A book which reminds us that universally as humans we share a profound love of beauty and possess in our core beings boundless creativity.” Sarah Corbett.
Purchase Marjorie’s book here