If for no other reason than that it was written in part by Edmund de Waal, author of the amazing family memoir The Hare with Amber Eyes, The Pot Book (Phaidon, $49.95), co-written with Claudia Clare, would be worth a look. But pottery is amazing in its own right, and the editors, both master ceramicists and writers on the medium, have expertly and beautifully compiled this encyclopedic look at what clay can do. The color photographs take center stage, with concise, informative commentary describing each work’s style, period, purpose, and artist. The survey time-travels the globe, from Egypt in 1479 B.C. to contemporary artists in Japan and Europe; de Waal and Clare, who also has a background in feminism and human rights, consider social and political contexts in addition to aesthetics.
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