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Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture

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The craftsman
Vol. VII, No. 5 (February 1905)

Book reviews,   pp. 613-621 PDF (2.8 MB)


Page 616


BOOK REVIEWS
the botanist does the flower. In speak-
ing of the looms, she tells us that the new
looms make much more even and regular
rugs, than the early and more simple
looms, but we lose "the woven dreams of
other days."
  As with other books we have the Geog-
raphy of the rug, but her plates are not as
good as they might be. She also gives a
religious chart and tells something, not by
any means all, of the migration of pattern.
She describes different rugs, but one needs
to be an expert still to identify any rug but
the very simple kinds that a few visits at
rug sales will make familiar to one.
  This book gives some information not
found in other rug books. Some of the
plates are excellent and helpful in identi-
fying rugs, the description opposite the
plate is very useful.
  Each rug book has some qualities essen-
tially its own. This book adds some in-
formation to the others, from which the
owners of other rug books will get help.
It will also be a good book to buy if you
do not own one; and in these days of rug
buying a book on rugs is quite as necessary
as a cook book for the kitchen or a dic-
tionary for the library.
   (The Oriental Rug Book, by Mary
Churchill Ripley, with one hundred and
sixty-four illustrations, New York, Fred-
erick A. Stokes Company, publishers, 81/2
by 6 inches, 396 pages.)
  No art is so accurate as the Moorish.
It follows law to its extreme limit. Mo-
hammed, with his man-made religion,
made law the supreme science of life.
This law enters into the noblest exponent
of this religion: its art. A systematic
6z6
study of the Alhambra, shows that the
artist has gone down to the heart of Na-
ture, found her way of working, her
schemes of color and spread them out in
their full glory in the Alhambra. Law
ever holds the reins of thought and keeps
inspiration within bounds. Owen Jones,
in his superb and costly books, has ex-
plained all this for us; but the ceramic art
of Moorish Spain he has left to others.
A. Van De Put, in this Hispano-Moresque
Ware of the new century, has given us
a treatise on the Ceramics of that land.
  No art is better suited to ceramics than
the Moorish, because it is a perfect sym-
bolic art, and symbolism is the only proper
art for table wares. Some one has said:
"We don't want landscapes on our plates,
for landscape means perspective, and per-
spective means distance, and we want our
beef steak and potatoes as near us as pos-
sible." We don't want flowers for our
plates, as they suggest nectar and am-
brosia, and we are feeding on the substan-
tials. We don't want fruits, as they look
pale and poor in the presence of the real
article. Thus we are left to symbolism,
and symbolism, at its best, is always Mo-
hammedan.
  This book gives illustrations in color and
black and white of many of the best re-
mains of this art. It shows its relation to
the Majolica and Faience wares, of lesser
wares that crept from Spain to Italy. It
gives the various places where specimens
can be found: Mus6e de Sývres Victoria
and Albert Museum, the Wallace collec-
tion (Hertford), the British Museum
and various private collections.
  The author can not tell us how the
peculiar luster of this ware was made,


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