Statement by Jenny Zimmer of Macmillan Art Publishing
The care with which this book has been prepared is simply astonishing. Its history began when Truus and Joost Daalder acquired their first examples of non-European ethnic body adornment around 1980, four years after their arrival in Adelaide. Creating this magnificent publication has involved much travel and research, and a passionate author – Truus Daalder, a collector born into a collector’s family.
Today the Daalder collection of ethnic jewellery numbers many hundreds of items, of which more than 500 appear in this book in glorious colour and with an expert photographer’s attention to presentation and detail. They are supplemented by close to 200 other objects selected from the world-renowned collections of items from Australian Aboriginal and Oceanic cultures shown in their designated Galleries at the South Australian Museum in Adelaide.
Unusually, the book starts in Australia and completes its journey in Africa. While the early emphasis on the ethnic, geographic, and cultural background of Australian and Pacific ornaments discloses much hitherto inaccessible information, Truus Daalder’s scholarship is equally fastidious and illuminating when applied to objects from Indonesia, South East Asia, China, the Himalayas, India, Central Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa.
Collectors and readers will welcome the thoughtful attention Truus Daalder has paid to the existing literature on ethnic jewellery and adornment, and will value the new knowledge she presents of the rare examples which this collection contributes to the world-wide corpus, such as the many never before shown ornaments from Aboriginal Australia, New Guinea, and other Oceanic islands.
Sumptuous and expertly designed, the book is visually stunning. All artefacts are accompanied by helpful captions and given ample space to exert their mystery and allure against carefully chosen coloured backgrounds. The text of the book offers concise but informative discussion of cultural and social contexts, considered comparisons, detailed analyses of the illustrated objects and useful political and geographic data, not to mention the occasional collector’s anecdote. Thus, the reader should be fully persuaded of the enduring importance of jewellery and adornment to the universal human psyche.
Dear Truus I bought your book on the weekend from a bookseller at Portobello Road. It's superb - really superb. I particularly like the idea of including Aboriginal items which for some reason are always treated in isolation. The photographs are very clear and the text authorative.
It is a particular pleasure to commend this book . . . [it] affords not only a wonderful journey for the general reader, and an appetiser for the collector of jewellery, but also a valuable reference for the museum curator. It will certainly have a handy position on my bookshelf at the Museum.
Dr Barry Craig, Senior Curator of Foreign Ethnology, South Australian Museum, Adelaide
The Daalders have brought together in this book an important selection of objects of ethnic adornment, notable not only for the rare and beautiful pieces it contains, but also for the opportunity it provides to range across many of the world’s cultural traditions through one particular aesthetic mode, that of the adorned and decorated body. Aboriginal adornment has been infrequently examined in the literature or through exhibition. This book will go a long way towards addressing that lack, and will enable these objects to be regarded within an international context.
Dr Philip Jones, Senior Curator, Australian Aboriginal Ethnology, South Australian Museum, Adelaide