Page 22 - SMCK Magazine #4
P. 22

 One Of the Oldest fOrms Of art is far mOre than OrnamentatiOn
By Loukia Richards
Jewelry is A BridGe connectinG us with...
...Life milestones. Adornment featuring distinctive mo- tifs, designs, or materials, it seals rites of passage, such as engagement, wedding, baptism, communion, mour- ning, circumcision, childbirth, new year's celebrations, etc.
...Magic. Numerous jewels from different eras and cul- tures show that in archaic societies jewelry was believed to have powers that protected the wearer from evil. Mo- tifs such as knots, eyes, chess patterns or materials such as blue stones or gold reflect concepts of omnipotent jewelry.
Christianity used the cross as its symbol: the junction where the underworld, heaven, and earth meet became its most powerful talisman.
...Social values. Jewelry reflects hierarchy and succes- sion. Think of the king's ring in legends and fairy tales. Even jewelry made of shell currency or head-hunters' loot is precious and the wearer enjoys an elevated so- cial position and esteem because the materials reflect skills valued in his society.
iliAd And odyssey document the voyAGers chAllenGes
The outer world. Amber necklaces found in 12th-cen- tury BC Mycenaean tombs in Greece are proof of the routes of commerce and the voyagers challenges do- cumented in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. From the Baltic to the Black Sea, through the rivers of Russia, amber – a fossilized tree resin – was traded for goods from the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Jewelry tells us that globalization shaped culture and taste since ancient times.
Our inner world. Admired for its scarcity, preciousness, color, brightness, and magnetism, but also for its obs- cure core hiding a “swallowed” organism, amber is known in Greek as electron - the name of Electra, daughter of Agamemnon, leader of the Greek kings in the war against Troy. She avenges her father's murder by plotting to kill of her own mother. In 20th-century psychoanalysis, the Electra complex is the female coun- terpart to the Oedipus complex and suggests a girl's difficulty to accept, overcome, and act in her feminine role.

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