Beauty and Bounty: Treasure and Trophies

  • Joy Hendry


An interesting aspect of the interpretation of objects and symbols in a particular society is the aesthetic one, and the anthropology of art and aesthetics has recently become a particularly lively branch of the subject. There are various reasons for this, but one of the most important is reflected in the title of this chapter. One person’s art is for another a commodity to be exploited, and the world of ‘art’ has truly become a global concern. At the beginning of Chapter 1 we talked of souvenirs and different ways of ‘seeing the world’, and then we went on to examine various ways of understanding these different worlds. In this chapter we return to ‘seeing’, but add the subject of value, notably but not exclusively aesthetic value.


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Further Reading

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  1. Ishiguro, Kazuo,An Artist of the Floating World (Harlow: Faber, 1986), is a novel which illustrates the relationships between Japanese artists in the turbulence of pre-Second World War Japan.Google Scholar


  1. The Wodaabe (Leslie Woodhead and Mette Bovin, 1988), a film in the Granada ‘Disappearing World’ series, is about the nomadic lives of a Fulani people of Nigeria who are described as ‘obsessed with male beauty’. A part of the film is devoted to the extraordinary facial decorations they apply.Google Scholar
  2. Parts of the ‘Strangers Abroad’ film on Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer (see Chapter 2) is about Australian Aboriginal art and its meaning.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Joy Hendry 1999

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  • Joy Hendry

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