November 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

Check out these stunning bowls! Made in Africa by Michou Osterwald, Amaridian reps African contemporary artists here in the US.

More than 5,000 years ago in North Africa, the ancient Egyptians invented the art of transferring thin leaves of gold onto wooden artifacts. The method is called water gilding. They did this to sacred masks, the heads and sarcophagi of their kings, and precious gifts they gave to their allies. This particular art of gilding was passed on from one civilization to another, the Greeks, the Romans, the Scandinavians, and much of Europe over the next few thousand years. In cathedrals and churches, in the palaces of kings and queens, in the scrolls and ornaments of Baroque and Rococo interiors, gilding has adorned the world’s most precious artifacts. And the art developed by the Egyptians has hardly changed since then.

Because gold and silver are precious and the process of water gilding is so precise and complex, gilding has historically been reserved for formal contexts. Michou has broken away from this concept by adorning very simply carved, raw wooden objects with the same precious gilding process.

The wooden bowls in themselves are precious. Each piece is hand-carved by men from various parts of southern Africa using jacaranda, wild olive and Zimbabwean teak, also known as kiaat. The gilded bowls bring the north and south of Africa together by juxtaposing constructed formality and spontaneously carved work. Michou applies 23.75-carat gold leaf or genuine silver leaf, using the ancient Egyptian water-gilding method. The application of casein paint, which adorns the colored bowls, is a complimentary aspect of Michou’s process which also dates back to the time of the Egyptians; who used the medium as a form of tempera paint. Each bowl is labor intensive, unique, individually coded and signed.

The bowls have no function other than to please the eye, and in their imperfection lies their beauty.


§ One Response to Bowls

  • Jaan says:

    Life is beautiful. And the way the wood is carved to show its beauty, then Michou adds that last final touch to show the carvings at their greatest beauty. Amazing

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