Exotic Art from an Exotic Era

July 01, 2016

We all read the newspapers even today.

But in the past 4-5 years, newspapers have been replaced by the internet as my main source of news.

By the time I read the papers in the morning, most of the news printed in the papers that arrive in the morning  is stale.

Not only has it been reported on the web within minutes of the occurrence, it has also been regurgitated and  analysed and overanalysed and spiced up with the opinions of not just the experts but every citizen journalist or reader with access to a type-pad.

The weight I (and most others) assign to the analysis on the internet is less than that of the electrons that get together to create the letters on my screen. But if one ignores the analysis and sticks to the original aim of  delivery of facts, there is no doubt that the net has created a huge dent in the usefulness of newspapers.

The fall  is probably a result of the 24-hour print cycle – for,  newsmakers seem to have absolutely no regard for paper deadlines and they go around creating news at whatever time they feel like …..absolutely inconsiderate don’t you think?

In this era of instant results, who has the time to wait for news until the next morning!

So though the newspaper is still useful – it is used more a reference for event listings and sales and not so much for the world news updates.

There has been a shift in the role of the newspaper at least in my own life, over the past decade.

Flashback to the 1950s – to an era that I did not experience at all  – newspapers appear to have played a very important role in the days of people.

A considerable amount of time was spent reading it and it appears that the reading of a newspaper was almost a ceremonial act in the day of a gentleman. Read at home or at the club, this was an essential and important task to be accomplished for fruitful conversation to follow.

And to assist in the reading ceremony, an object was created to enable men to turn the pages of the newspapers so as to not get their hands stained with newspaper ink!

Imagine how significant the newspaper reading must have been for accessories to be created to support this activity!!

It might even be that a small industry of manufacturers thrived to fulfill the accessory needs of newspaper readers! And in an effort to differentiate their products, competitors began adding some unique feature to theirs. Some might have been enhanced functionally, while others were enhanced aesthetically. And as the competition grew fiercer, the brands in the latter group evolved to become prettier and prettier!

Until there came a day, when the design of the newspaper-turner reached its aesthetic zenith and stunned the world with its beauty. And then we had THIS newspaper turner:

Presenting the most beautiful newspaper-turner I have ever seen:

[truth be told,  it is the only newspaper-turner I have ever seen ].

 

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The sliver of the main body was handcrafted out of perfumed sandalwood and then embellished with perfectly carved ivory overlay….

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The ivory carving is overlaid on both sides as can be seen in the above photo taken in front of the mirror.

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When I saw it, I was compelled to bring it home – partly because it was just so beautiful. And partly because I thought it would ease my daily struggle of turning the large sheets of newspaper whilst juggling a large cup of coffee.

I tried it. And failed. All that happened was that I  was struggling with 3 things instead of 2. Clearly I do not have the grace of the gentlemen of the old world.

And so, that beautiful piece has now been shifted to the art shelves and is in the queue to get framed and displayed on some wall, somewhere, someday.

 

jm

June 2016

#art #antiques #artobject

Exotic Art from an Exotic Era

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