Aesthetic Investment

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Posted by John Downie on March 30, 1999 at 09:37:30:

The thing that I find most fascinating about the topic of utilitarian, tribal pieces, is the incredible effort made by these nomadic women in order to make their surroundings beautiful.

As Saul points out, many of these people were at an economic level not too far above subsistence, so they faced rather high opportunity costs. Instead of the tremendous amount of work that must have gone into the beautiful Caucasian mafrash in the article, the weaver could have made, much more quickly, a simple, plainwoven piece. It is a testament to the aesthetic sensibilities of the group that the much higher time investment was deemed worthy.

This is in stark contrast to our much more affluent but Ikea-dominated world, where many people store their belongings in an unfinished pine racks. It is interesting to consider the implications of these differences.

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