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Art of Small Things

written by John Mack

British Museum Press | ISBN 9780714150468

Hardback – 224 pages


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There is a true fascination with all things miniature and with the skills involved in creating a miniature masterpiece. Miniatures have an intrinsic aesthetic quality: they are objects of allure, or of awe. Who could fail to be beguiled by an exquisite Elizabethan miniature painting, an intricately carved Japanese netsuke, the words of the Lords Prayer written on a minute jewelled clasp, or an eighteenth-century Italian micro-mosaic (a gem-like work of technical virtuosity)? But small things also possess a capacity to act upon the world and evoke responses which far exceed their physical dimensions. They might be imbued, for instance, with talismanic, religious or magical properties. In this thought-provoking book, the author not only celebrates the art of the miniature object, but looks beyond it at the many aspects of small worlds. He explores the concentrated messages that can be conveyed in the miniature form and how this is exploited in different cultural contexts for a variety of purposes.


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