THE WHISTLING BIRD

and other clay toys from all over the world

Hidden away in the darkest corner of Art History the clay toys of the first part of this exhibition reveal an extremely ancient craft tradition, longtime considered inseparable from ritual and often mysterious ancestral beliefs.

 


Contrary to these timeless figurines, those of the second section are recognisably from the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.

The most ancient are only found today in a few isolated parts of the world which remain untouched by modern ‘progress’.

They remind us of a world which is in the process of disappearing and create the “local colour” style which has developed with the fashion for craft made for the tourist industry

The third section is devoted to clay toys which produce sound - mainly rattles, whistles and ocarinas - in the shape of birds, an assortment of animals and phantasmagorical human figures. They produce sounds which not only intrigue musicologists but also delight children.

On leaving this exhibition who will not feel the need to put his/her hands in the clay? “To create with one’s hands”, said the celebrated potter Bernard Leach “ is the most direct path to understanding”.


 

 

 

Slides of some of the toys in the collection in 36 clicks

 

See the exhibition in Tel Aviv (June 2010/February 2011) in 36 clicks. Curator : Christine Armengaud, Designer: Ori Glazer