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History of Design: Decorative Arts and Material Culture, 1400–2000, edited by Pat Kirkham and Susan Weber


Spanning six centuries of global design, this far-reaching survey is the first to offer an account of the vast history of decorative arts and design produced in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Indian subcontinent, and the Islamic world, from 1400 to the present. Meticulously documented and lavishly illustrated, the volume covers interiors, furniture, textiles and dress, glass, graphics, metalwork, ceramics, exhibitions, product design, landscape and garden design, and theater and film design. Divided into four chronological sections, each of which is subdivided geographically, the authors elucidate the evolution of style, form, materials, and techniques, and address vital issues such as gender, race, patronage, cultural appropriation, continuity versus innovation, and high versus low culture.

Leading authorities in design history and decorative arts studies present hundreds of objects in their contemporary contexts, demonstrating the overwhelming extent to which the applied arts have enriched customs, ceremony, and daily life worldwide over the past six hundred years. This ambitious, landmark publication is essential reading, contributing a definitive classic to the existing scholarship on design, decorative arts, and material culture, while also introducing these subjects to new readers in a comprehensive, erudite book with widespread appeal.

Pat Kirkham is a professor at the Bard Graduate Center, where Susan Weber is founder and director.


Table of Contents


Director's Foreword

Editor's Acknowledgments

Editor's Introduction

Editor's Note to the Reader


Chapter 1: East Asia

Chapter 2: India

Chapter 3: The Islamic World

Chapter 4: Africa

Chapter 5: Europe

Chapter 6: The Americas


Chapter 7: East Asia

Chapter 8: India

Chapter 9: The Islamic World

Chapter 10: Africa

Chapter 11: Europe

Chapter 12: The Americas


Chapter 13: East Asia

Chapter 14: India

Chapter 15: The Islamic World

Chapter 16: Africa

Chapter 17: Europe

Chapter 18: The Americas


Chapter 19: East Asia

Chapter 20: India

Chapter 21: The Islamic World

Chapter 22: Africa

Chapter 23: Europe and the Americas

Quotation Sources
Further Reading
Author's Acknowledgments
Illustration Credits


John Robert Alderman
Independent art historian and writer on India

Marcus B. Burke
Senior Curator, The Hispanic Society of America, New York

Silke Bettermann
Librarian and Scholar at the Beethoven-Hause, Bonn

Jeffrey Collins
Professor and Chair of Academic Programs, Bard Graduate Center

Aimee E. Froom
Independent scholar

Annette Hagedorm
Independent scholar specializing in Islamic applied art and European Orientalism in the decorative arts

David Jaffee
Professor and Head of New Media Research, Bard Graduate Center

Rose Kerr
Honarary Associate of the Needham Research Institute, Cambridge

Pat Kirkham
Professor, Bard Graduate Center

Patricia Lara-Betancourt
Research Fellow, the Modern Interiors Research Centre, Kingston University, London

Christian A. Larsen
Doctorial candidate and Curatorial Fellow, Bard Graduate Center

Dana Leibsohn
Professor, Art Department, Smith College

Sarah A. Lichtman
Assistant Professor of Design History, Parsons, The New School for Design, New York

Andrew Morrall
Professor, Bard Graduate Center

George Michell
Independent Scholar

Barbara E. Mundy
Associate Professor, Art History, Fordham University, New York

Amy F. Ogata
Professor, Bard Graduate Center

Jorge F. Rivas Perez
Curator, Coleccion Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

Maria Ruvoldt
Assistant Professor, Fordham University, New York

Tomoko Sakomura
Associate Professor of Art History, Swarthmore College

Enid Schildkrout
Curator Emerita, American Museum of Natural History

Lee Talbot
Curator, Eastern Hemisphere Collections, The Textile Museum, Washington, DC

Sarah Teasley
Reader in Design History and Theory, Royal College of Art, London

Carol Thompson
The Fred and Rita Richman Curator of African Art, High Museum, Atlanta

Tom Tredway
Doctoral candidate, Bard Graduate Center

Norman Vorano
Curator of Comtemporary Inuit Art, Canadian Museum of Civilization

Susan Weber
Director, Founder, and Iris Horowitz Professor, Bard Graduate Center

Catherine L. Whalen
Assistant Professor, Bard Graduate Center

8.00 LBS

Other Details


12 x 9.5 x 1.5 in.

Page count
712 pages, 803 color and B&W illus.

Publication date
December 2013