Substance and Symbol in Chinese Toggles: With a Catalogue of the C.F. Bieber Collection. Schuyler Cammann.

Substance and Symbol in Chinese Toggles: With a Catalogue of the C.F. Bieber Collection

Floating World Editions, 2006. Item #45908
ISBN: 1891640305

Although the Japanese belt ornaments known as netsuke have long been popular with collectors and much written about, the Chinese toggles which preceded them have gone little noticed. Professor Cammann's long out of print work was the first book in any Western language to discuss them. Using examples from the C.F. Bieber collection and other private and museum collections, Professor Cammann discusses every aspect of these toggles, from the selection of materials through the methods used to make them and choices of motif and decoration. Toggles were chiefly made and worn by common people and thus form part of China's rather neglected folk art tradition. Materials were chosen for specific medicinal or magical reasons assumed to make them efficacious as amulets. Readers are introduced to figures and motifs of Chinese folklore as well as more conventional symbols from the Buddhist and Taoist religious traditions. Mongolian and Tibetan toggles are also discussed, both in terms of their own traditions and contrasted with the more familiar Chinese and Manchu examples.

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