Author Celia Heil Introduces the History of Mexican Lacquer

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Her new picture book brings to light new information on the lacquer technology of Mexico and its direct link to Asian lacquer ware, technology, materials, and decorative styles

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The origin and history of lacquer ware pique the interest of many, and it is quite a fascinating artform to study. Author Celia Heil presents a comprehensive, illustrated description and history of lacquer and lacquerware in her publication, LACQUER Across the Oceans. It includes the intriguing lacquerware techniques, intricate craftsmanship, and multiple styles of the exquisite finished products, many of the latter being triumphs of decorative art.

Evidence points to the introduction of lacquer to Mesoamerica by Asian travelers of long ago, and not the product of coincidental, parallel development, or introduction by Europeans. In order to support this comparisons and conclusions the author traveled extensively to lacquer centers in Mexico, China, Japan, and Thailand. This book presents for the first time evidence of the possible origin of lacquer traced to the prehistoric people of Turkestan. It gives a detailed description of resin lac and insect lac and for the first time gives description of the similarities of Japanese Kanshitsu dry lacquer and maize-stalk, the pre-Colombian Mexican dry lacquer. It gives information about the difference of Asian lacquerware from that of Mexican lacquerware.

Celia Heil makes a novel contribution with her book, LACQUER Across the Oceans: Independent Invention or Diffusion? as she looks closely at the technology, history, and art of lacquerware and considers the possibility that the industries of the two hemispheres are parts of a single historical whole, offering detailed comparisons and abundant supporting evidence that art historians, cultural anthropologists and geographers, students, and readers in general interested in art and art history, will surely find valuable in the study of lacquerware.

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About the Author
Celia Heil is a Cultural Anthropologist. She was born in Mexico City. She specializes in research of transpacific, pre-Columbian contacts of Asia and the Americas. Particularly conduct studies of the P’urhépecha culture of Michoacán, on the west coast of Mexico and their possible cross-cultural, pre-Columbian, transpacific connection with the cultures of East and Southeast Asia. For several years she was Program coordinator for the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage for the Smithsonian Institution. She has traveled extensively throughout Mexico, the United States, Europe, New Zealand, Asia and Southeast Asia, and for a year lived in Australia. As a member of the National Science Foundation staff, she was part of the 1979-1980 United States Antarctic Research Expedition.

LACQUER Across the Oceans
Independent Invention or Diffusion?
by Celia Heil

Publication Date: October 14, 2013
Picture Book; $81.99; 162 pages; 978-1-4691-8869-0
Picture Book Hardcover; $91.99; 162 pages; 978-1-4691-8870-6

Members of the media who wish to review this book may request a complimentary paperback copy by contacting the publisher at (888) 795-4274 x. 7879. To purchase copies of the book for resale, please fax Xlibris at (812) 355-4079 or call (888) 795-4274 x. 7879.

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