Monday, January 2, 2012

The Hare with Amber Eyes

I’ve finished reading the biography of the netsuke that were bought by and passed down through Edmund de Waal’s family. A story of obsession, how it feels to have and not have money, how families spread, sometimes with a purpose, sometimes to  escape and how the same objects can be signifiers of status to one generation and toys to another. Lots to digest about the politics of Europe leading up to WW’s 1&2, and insights into the post war occupation of Japan. Having spent a few days in Vienna last year the descriptions of that city meant a little more to me but I’d like to go again with the book in hand.

By a strange coincidence just after I turned the last page of THWAE I heard an interview with de Waal on the BBC world service programme The Strand. With Bach’s Goldberg Variations in the background he talked about making pots in his studio, about paying attention to his hands working the clay with his mind on many other things and about his new book, The Pot Book.  I especially liked his explanation of why the particular shade of yellow on a certain Chinese pot is impossible for him to repeat. The full interview should be on the BBC iplayer at 

New reading is Islands of Privacy by Christena Nippert-Eng …

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