'The author takes his readers on a magical world tour of tangible things that were once-and in some cases still are-used in a huge variety of religious settings. With a cosmopolitan lightness of touch, Paine demonstrates the radical instability of such things, even once they have found their way into museums. They do not have a single meaning or use, but are almost infinitely adaptable. Above all, he deftly shows that the 'distinction between 'religious' and 'mundane' is a curious modern Western idea, incomprehensible to most people at most times.' No other book introduces readers more engagingly to the puzzles surrounding how museums address the sacred realm worldwide.' --Ivan Gaskell, Professor of Cultural History and of Museum Studies, Bard Graduate Center, New York City
About the Author
is Honorary Lecturer at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL, UK.