Artefacts as Categories: A Study of Ceramic Variability in Central India
Why this book?
Miller’s work in village India – a world away from most of our experiences – focuses on the way that people make things to be bought and used, cherished and given, and broken and discarded, all with a feedback loop from producer to consumer and back again. Through his conversations with artisans, he reveals that when high-status people buy certain shapes, lower-status people start to want them also, until those shapes become too “common” and high-status folks begin to show their distinction through the patronage of a new design. The cycle is never-ending, and Miller’s memorable words are always in the back of my mind whenever I’m looking through ancient artifacts and thinking about how their forms and decorations changed over time.