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The Ceramic Narrative

The Ceramic Narrative

by Matthias Ostermann

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.

224 pages, 178.00 x 254.00 x 0.00 mm, 240 color illus.

  • ISBN: 9780812239706
  • Published: July 2006



The Ceramic Narrative is an exploration of past and present ceramic iconography concerned with the depiction of narratives, or with images meant to be thought-provoking, beyond the merely decorative. The book is beautifully illustrated with an extensive variety of work from history and the present day, showing how many contemporary artists continue this tradition with modern interpretations.

Examining ancient Greece, the ceramic imagery of the Maya culture, the ceramics of China, Persia, and Japan, European tin-glaze traditions, and the narrative imagery appearing on later European porcelains, Matthias Ostermann attempts wherever possible not only to present ceramic narratives in their cultural and historical contexts but also to refer to some of the older myths and sources that may have served as inspiration.

Applied arts writer David Whiting contributes an essay on the development of ceramic narratives in the twentieth century, while illustrations present the work of more than 75 contemporary international ceramic artists who explore narrative in distinctive and different ways. These include the exploration of mythologies and existing stories; personal visions, private stories and memory; the human figure, relationships and identity; political and social commentary; and finally, the ceramic object itself, seen as message and metaphor.

This book will serve as a beginning for further study of this fascinating and little-explored subject and as a celebration of the work of all ceramic artists whose passion is the ceramic narrative.