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Feldman, Jerome A. (Editor/Curator); Frederick S. Wight Art Gallery & Other Contributors. THE ELOQUENT DEAD: ANCESTRAL SCULPTURE OF INDONESIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA. Los Angeles, CA: University Of California Press, 1985. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 240 pages. Fine.

Exhibition monograph on subject. One of the greatest books on indigenous tribal art of the 20th century. The First Hardcover Edition. Should not be confused with the Softcover Edition, which was published simultaneously with it. Published in a tiny first print run as a hardcover original by a University Press, with funding from the National Endowment for The Humanities. The Hardcover Edition was issued both with and without a DJ, a typical practice of University Press publications. As such, describing the absence of a DJ as "missing" is erroneous. The First Edition is now very rare. Published on the occasion of the landmark retrospective exhibition held at the UCLA Museum of Cultural History from October 8 through November 25, 1985. Presents, in an austerely elegant volume, some of the greatest tribal art the world will ever see. The exhibition's (and this book's) perspective is insightful, brilliantly realized, and has been immensely influential. It also has universal significance, as the focus of all other ceremonial tribal art (in Africa, the Americas, and other parts of Asia) is The Dead or rather, the passage of the living from this life to the afterlife, the transmutation of "body" into "spirit", a journey that those they leave behind mark with utmost respect, ritual, and solemnity. Here are "elaborate, frighteningly beautiful ritual art objects relating to the dead in the cultures of Indonesia and Southeast Asia. Contains photographs of this funerary art and essays on the ancestral arts of Nias, Batak, Dayak, Toraja, Biak, Paiwan, and Yami" (Publisher's blurb). The book also touches on similar (and possibly, related) art in the Lesser Sundas and Moluccas, the Philippines, and Madagascar. The art itself, beautifully photographed, is to die for: Powerful in their worldview, exquisite in their attention to detail, and unsurpassed in their intuitive apprehension of The Beautiful as The Sacred. They help remind us, and we need to be reminded, that art before our secular Modern Age was about the larger-than-life (as it were) and the sublime. One does not have to be a believer to appreciate and be moved by this great art; if anything, one's particular religious beliefs will tend to get in the way of such appreciation. And with the exception of a few memorial artists (like Christian Boltanski on the one hand and Art Spiegelman on the other), the beautiful-as-sacred has been permanently banished in contemporary art. An absolute "must-have" title for art book collectors. This title is a classic. This is one of very few copies of the First Hardcover Edition/First Printing still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. The few copies of the Hardcover Edition available online command between $3000 and (an incredible) $15, 000. Almost all other copies available online are the Softcover Edition (which sell for between $350 and $500, rightly so because they are also rare). This is a reasonable and lovely alternative. A very rare copy thus. 300 plates. One of the seminal art books of the 20th century. A fine collectible copy. . ISBN 0930741056. $1500.00

This item is available for purchase. This web page was most recently updated on December 14, 2017.