Pounamu Treasures

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Pounamu Treasures

RUSSELL BECK and MAIKA MASON Photographer: ANDRIS APSE 2012 128pp. Penguin Books ISBN-13:9780143568155 ISBN-10:0143568159


Pounamu, or jade, is one of New Zealand's most treasured natural resources, celebrated for its rich beauty and significance to the Māori people. Pounamu Treasures: Ngā Taonga Pounamu is a simple and stylish collection of object photographs that honours the stone in its many forms.

Respected pounamu specialists Russell Beck and Maika Mason provide detailed descriptions of both historical and contemporary objects, including information on varieties and source, Māori names, size and age, usage and history – all complemented by the exquisite photography of Andris Apse.

Mini Review

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This book is a smaller and soft cover version of Beck and Mason's 2010 Pounamu: the jade of New Zealand. They acknowledge its debt: "This publication draws on Pounamu as a companion volume but is a less comprehensive version, with the emphasis on the taonga, the treasures of the traditional and contemporary carvers." It is exactly that. One printers' technique tried here is to print trimmed photos of front and back of an artefact on opposing sides of semi-transparent paper to try to give the effect of the piece - but the photographs do not print well on the paper chosen and it has to be regarded as a failure in this instance. The book will no doubt be rewarding to the purchasers for the same reasons as the earlier book, but overall this reviewer is not the least sorry he bought the more comprehensive version.