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Adornment Outside and In – estetisk kraft

Objects of adornment are fascinating due to the material used in their production as well as their beauty. Mind that adornment moves far beyond the decorative. It is involved in marking and transferring social status including gender and in shaping a persona. While adorning the body, the person appears.

Jewellery from Central- and East Africa

02.06. – 07.08.2011, Historical Museum, Frederiksgate 2, Oslo.

Not to forget how movements of the body, gestures and more general deportment play together with the jewellery. Only when worn is jewellery turned into adornment. The body is translated into the jewellery or, rather, the jewellery becomes part of the body observed and lived. It is all about adornment outside and in. Adornment emanates from the immutable of life itself.

Beauty is a relative, shifting, elusive concept; it varies between places and over time. What for some, somewhere, appears as an act or object of beautification, may for others be perceived as ugly and brutish. This is how the world is, full of complexity and difference even in matters of beauty.

Take a good look at the materials because the crafts and designs bear witness about interregional influences and exchange systems relating also to form, fashion and style. The similarity of the jewellery exhibited illustrates how ideas and aesthetics travel across societies and cultural contexts, also as mediums of exchange.

Jewellery and changing and emerging aesthetics more generally, highlights the significant role of ‘the other’ in matters of inspiration and renewal, but also for social and political contact across borders. Jewellery and adornment create and maintain linkages between categories of people; they may even move boundaries of inclusion and exclusion.

The exhibition presents artefacts from the Museum’s African jewellery collection, mainly bracelets and necklaces. Our wish is to emphasize the delicate as well as rough materials and craft involved in its production. Jewellery marks the adorned but equally the crafters whose knowledge and skills are involved in the production. Thus notice the receptiveness towards how materials can be applied in making jewellery.

The exhibition

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The opening of the exhibition

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Original version

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All exhibition texts © Kulturhistorisk museum

Published Dec. 15, 2020 8:14 AM - Last modified Apr. 26, 2022 5:02 PM

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