James W. P. Campbell, Photographs by Will Pryce (New York: Thames & Hudson Inc., 2003) 320 PP., $70
Starting with the 10,000-year-old bricks (the world’s oldest) uncovered by the British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon at Jericho, this beautifully illustrated book winds up with a survey of buildings erected by such modern architects as Louis Kahn and Alvar Aalto. Along the way, readers are introduced to 7,000-year-old fired bricks from Mesopotamia, mid-second millennium B.C. Theban frescoes depicting brickmakers at their craft, colorful glazed brickwork reliefs from the first-century B.C. palace of Susa in modern Iran and ancient Roman baths and basilicas.
Egypt: Stones of Light
Photographs by Hervé Champollion, text by Diane Sarofim Harlé (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. 2004) 144 PP., $35
Hervé Champollion, like his great-granduncle Jean-François Champollion, the decipherer of Egyptian hieroglyphics, is fascinated by the stones of ancient Egypt. His photographs capture the contours and textures of Egypt’s sculptures and reliefs, using only natural light to illuminate the skill of the ancient carvers. In their hands, lightly grained red sandstone was transformed into goose-bumped flesh, pink granite was carved into the realistic outline of a beautifully shaped ear, and crystalline-veined alabaster became the smooth visages of royal kings and queens.
Photos of some 200 glass vessels from the collection of connoisseur Ernesto Wolf, dating from the early days of the Roman glass industry in the first century A.D. through the Byzantine period, shine in the pages of this catalogue. The story begins with the new technique of glassblowing, developed in Syro-Palestinian workshops around the beginning of the Common Era. The shimmering unguent jars, transparent royal-blue bottles, ribbed and faceted bowls, and thin-necked, elegant flasks shown in these pages all attest to the virtuosity of ancient glassmakers.
Brick: A World History
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