|About the Book|
Jack Goodys new book takes as its theme the symbolic and transactional uses of flowers. He begins his study by asking why there are so few uses of flowers in Africa, either domesticated or wild, either in reality or in representation, and goes on toMoreJack Goodys new book takes as its theme the symbolic and transactional uses of flowers. He begins his study by asking why there are so few uses of flowers in Africa, either domesticated or wild, either in reality or in representation, and goes on to initiate a world-wide enquiry into the place of flowers in secular life and religious ritual from ancient Egypt to modern times. He links the use of flowers to the rise of advanced systems of agriculture, the growth of social stratification and the spread of luxury goods, looking at the history of aesthetic horticulture in Europe and Asia. Other themes that emerge are the role of written texts in building up a culture of flowers- the importance of trade and communications in disseminating and transforming attitudes to flowers- the rejection on puritanical grounds of flowers and their artistic representation- and the multiplicity of meanings which flowers possess. A particular feature of the book is its analysis of the role of flowers in the Far East and of the aesthetic and political implications of flowers in China during the cultural revolution. The conclusion returns to earlier themes of long-term developments in cultural history, treating uses of flowers in the context of theology and ideology as well as of processes of production and systems of class. Written from a broad temporal and geographical perspective, this wide-ranging book will appeal not only to anthropologists and social historians but also to anyone interested in flowers and their symbolic function across the centuries.