- A Matter of Taste: Novelty Teapots through the Ages
- Antiques of the Year
- Apache Baskets: Utilitarian Works of Woven Art
- Time for a Barn Praising
And much more…
Read our January issue online in a
reader-friendly flipbook format
In My Opinion
Producing the Past
People sometimes ask me why I derive so much pleasure from history, from seventeenth-century history in particular. As with any really satisfying pleasure there are more dimensions to it than I’m fully aware of. But the one I keep returning to is that history shows us that the way we live now is not the only way to live, and that people who were fundamentally just like us lived quite differently. And because they lived differently doesn’t mean that they were any less happy or fulfilled than we are today. Far from it.
Tea, according to legend, was discovered nearly 5,000 years ago, in China. There, this fragrant beverage, prepared by brewing its finely ground leaves in boiling water, was traditionally served in bowls. Porcelain or metal vessels resembling later teapots evidently appeared during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). These small “one-cuppas” were designed for single drinkers who drank directly from their spouts.
Judy Penz Sheluk
Our Senior Editor selects her favorites from the thousands of antiques we covered in 2017.
Basketry, the art of weaving pliable vegetable fiber into decorative or utilitarian vessels, is one of the oldest crafts practiced by mankind. All Native American tribes wove baskets, which varied in shape and size, according to their particular function. The raw material at hand, like leaves, grass, straw, or rushes, largely determined a basket’s color, design, and form. It also determined the technique used to produce it.
Along with baseball and apple pie, there may be nothing more iconic in rural America than the red, gambrel-roofed barn. Although barns exist in other countries, colors and shapes, the typical New England-style barn has taken on a mythic status in our social, artistic and commercial culture, even as its main purpose for farming has declined. I remember many local businesses like the Pizza Barn, the Mattress Barn, the Shoe Barn, and more that flaunted their barn-like associations. One current national example is Dairy Queen, which still retains its New England barn-like appearance, although in a stripped down graphic form.