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Jewellery from the Orient: Treasures from the Dr. Bir Collection: Treasures from the Bir Collection [Hardcover]

Wolf-Dieter Seiwert
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 45.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Dec 2009
Jewellery sets off beauty and reveals wealth. Moreover, jewellery had a magical function in traditional societies because it attracted blessings and warded off evil. Women were given most of their jewellery when they married. They wore it until their children had grown up. Then it was kept until their daughters had need of its magical properties. So Oriental vernacular jewellery was handed down from generation to generation. If a piece was too worn, it was melted down and the silver used to recreate a piece of the same type. Thus the memories of millennia were preserved in jewellery of this kind. It came to a break in the mid-20th century. In many parts of the Near East, the traditional silver jewellery began to be replaced by gold jewellery that was often industrially manufactured. The upshot was that much of what makes this collection so unusual has been irredeemably lost in the countries where the jewellery was once made. It is to the everlasting credit of Dr. Bir as a collector that these pieces have survived, albeit far from the lands where they were made, to attest to the infinite variety and beauty of Oriental craftsmanship. In this book, readers follow the jewellery on an imaginary journey: from Turkey and 'oriental Europe' across the Mediterranean to north-western Africa and the Sahara to Ethiopia. From there the journey continues through Yemen via India and on to Thailand and the Roof of the World. Down the Indus Valley to Afghanistan. Back again through the mountains and across Central Asia on the Silk Road to the West. From Turkmenistan to the Caspian Sea and from there to the Caucasus. Through eastern Turkey, Syria and Palestine back to the Mediterranean. Born in Freiburg i. Breisgau in 1929, the collector A mit Bir was the son of a Turkish physician and a native of Freiburg. He grew up in Izmir. After studying medicine in Istanbul, he trained as a specialist in Berlin and worked in Wolfsburg from 1958. His passion for collecting began in 1960 on a trip through north-east Africa. One hundred and eighty more trips throughout the Near East would follow.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Arnoldsche (1 Dec 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3897903199
  • ISBN-13: 978-3897903197
  • Product Dimensions: 30.2 x 23.9 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,204,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good text 30 Jan 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book gives heaps of information about this interesting subject!!
Many pictures! What a beautiful collection the Bir collection is!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifull 29 Feb 2012
By Andrea
This is a beautiful book, beautiful jewellery images from all over the globe..

I love sitting looking at the pictures, they are inspiring and take you into a magical world.. into history..
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astoundingly Beautiful,Very Informative 10 April 2010
By Nancy T. Hernandez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Let me begin by saying that I have traveled in a number of the countries covered by this book, and own an extensive library on the jewelry of these countries. This book contains some objects which I have never before seen, and others for which I had never known the names.

This book is a delight for the eyes, as well as the intellect. The quality of the photography, and of the items shown rivals that of the A World Of...series about the Ghysels family Collection, but the text is far more informative.

Not only are magnificent examples displayed, but also the accompanying text is both scholarly, and readable. All items are identified as to source, and use, and in most cases, the tranliterated name for the object is provided as well.

The material is presented by geographical region, with the dates and locations of the collector's trips listed. The photos of the objects are supplemented by photos taken at the various locations, showing landscapes, town streets, and village markets.

Each object is numbered, and that number appears in the margin by the paragraph in which the object is being discussed, making it easy to find the referenced photo.

This book is a worthy addition to the library of anyone interested in jewelry of the Orient, as well as a superb introducion to this area of study for the novice.

However, I do have two criticisms as to the content of the book:

Firstly, an extensive Bibliography is provided with some excellent references, but it does not include any of the works by Heather Colyer Ross, who has written extensively on the jewelry of the Arabian Peninsula, not does it include Arab and Islamic Silver by Saad Al-Jadir.

Secondly, and more glaring, the Bibliography includes Silver Jewellery of Oman by Jehan Rahab, which is fraught with errors and omissions, and does not include Oman Adorned- A Portrait in Silver by Dr. Miranda Morris and Pauline Shelton which is the quintessential book on Omani Jewelry.

There is also a collation error on the part of the publisher. The introduction to the portion on India appears on pages 124 and 125, in the middle of the section on Yemen. The section on India begins on page 140, absent any introducion.

All this said, this is a magnificent book, well worth owning.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mostly very good book 9 Nov 2011
By Joost Daalder - Published on Amazon.com
A previous reviewer complained that the author had not sufficiently acquainted himself with recent scholarship on Oman, but what is far more odd is that a book called "Jewellery from the Orient" has in fact no material on Oman at all, thus making the reviewer's comment on this matter in effect pointless. There is, in fact, a disconcerting amount of Oriental material NOT presented in this book. However, that is my only major reservation, and it isn't actually that important if the merits of what IS done are considered. There is a very substantial degree of coverage of several important and interesting cultures, and unlike many books with general titles, such as *The Splendour of Ethnic Jewellery*, this is not primarily a coffee table book with captions but without much researched documentation to back it. On the contrary, the amount of research is exceptional, which is a very strong feature of this work. Furthermore, there are a good many pieces represented which are old, very attractive, authentically representative of the cultures chosen, in often very good condition, and in not a few cases hard to obtain. The book is thus not only a pleasure to consult and learn from, but can be used for genuine, informative reference. There are, for example, quite a few pieces which I would like to own, and which in principle my wife Truus Daalder would have been happy to include in her *Ethnic Jewellery and Adornment* (although that is already a very large book indeed!). We share this author's overall notion of what a book on ethnic jewellery, if it is to be of real use to others, should do. I recommend the book for the good work it does, so long as a buyer understands that "Jewellery from the Orient" is not the best title to indicate what is included and excluded.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF MY TOP CHOICES AS A BOOK GIFT 25 Jan 2012
By Scott R. Hightower - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am not an expert in this field; but I know lovely books and often turn to this title as a gift. It has never failed to be enthusiastically appreciated by the recipient. I often sit and enjoy my own copy.
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