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Spanning six centuries of global design, this far-reaching survey is the first to offer an account of the vast history of decorative arts and design produced in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Indian subcontinent, and the Islamic world, from 1400 to the present. Meticulously documented and lavishly illustrated, the volume covers interiors, furniture, textiles and dress, glass, graphics, metalwork, ceramics, exhibitions, product design, landscape and garden design, and theater and film design. Divided into four chronological sections, each of which is subdivided geographically, the authors elucidate the evolution of style, form, materials, and techniques, and address vital issues such as gender, race, patronage, cultural appropriation, continuity versus innovation, and high versus low culture.
Leading authorities in design history and decorative arts studies present hundreds of objects in their contemporary contexts, demonstrating the overwhelming extent to which the applied arts have enriched customs, ceremony, and daily life worldwide over the past six hundred years. This ambitious, landmark publication is essential reading, contributing a definitive classic to the existing scholarship on design, decorative arts, and material culture, while also introducing these subjects to new readers in a comprehensive, erudite book with widespread appeal.
Pat Kirkham is a professor at the Bard Graduate Center, where Susan Weber is founder and director.