‘Serpentina, Snake Jewellery from around the World’, until 26 February in Pforzheim

February 14, 2012 | No Comments

Until 26th February this month the exhibition ‘Serpentina, Snake Jewellery from around the World’ is on display at the Schmuckmuseum in Pforzheim (The Jewellery museum), Germany. Accompanying this exhibition there’s an extremely interesting beautiful book written by Fritz Falk, which I would like to discuss on my blog today.As you know I’m impressed by jewellery from the beginning of mankind up to the extraordinary contemporary ones nowadays, coming from all over the world. No wonder that I love this book. Fritz Falk, former director of the Schmuck museum Pforzheim, is the guest curator of this exhibition and the writer of this book. My goodness what a beautiful theme he has chosen and what an impressive result! It’s both awe inspiring and breath-taking! There is no other way for me to describe this book.It felt to me that Fritz Falk literally took me by the hand as I walked through this ‘Snake Landscape’! A walk which started in Egyptian times passing the Romans, the Greek, the Vikings and so on through the 18th and 19th century, with a pit-stop in the amazing Art Nouveau up to contemporary extraordinay snake jewellery. During this whole bird flight we passed by in Africa, Europe, Asia and North & South America with beautiful photos. Meanwhile telling in a fascinating way about the meaning of the snake in many civilisations and throughout all epochs of history, the influence of  religions on it, historical details, myths and legends, its designs and symbolic values. At least I have to admit that I never was aware of the so many (!) symbolic values the snake stands for. To give you a little impression; new life, rebirth, death and decay, loaded with both positive and negative connotations it appears equally as a creative and a destructive force, as a phallic symbol with the libido and uninhibited sexuality, a symbol of healing, evil, kindly and wise, cosmic energy, protection, blessings, royalty, as a symbol of trade and commerce, and don’t forget Asclepius (the professional symbol of physicians and pharmacists) and many more. I’ve enjoyed the several ‘jewellery side roads’ I’d never seen before. So, if you are in the neighbourhood of Pforzheim these days be sure to visit the exhibition! If you are not able to do so, like me, the next best thing to do is to purchase the book! I’m sure you will constantly open it until you’ve  finished the whole text and can dream of each and every image. To see jewellery from the perspective of  ‘the snake from those early days onwards’ was to me a true refreshing eye opener. (ISBN 978-3-89790-354-8).
The only disadvantage I noticed is that each left page is written in German and the right pages in English, but after a little while you get used to it…and in the end my German certainly improved!…as well as my English…Thanks to Pete, my ‘chocolate-editor’, for explaining me in detail that a ‘Schmuck museum’ is completely impossible for all my American readers :) !


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Margriet Sopers

Margriet Sopers, FGA

Having a diploma in jewellery, FGA and a propaedeutic of the Academy of Art followed-up by interesting years as a jewellery expert at Sotheby's & Gemeentelijke Krediet Bank, as well as being a member for years of the Society of Jewellery Historians, I am glad to share with you today's world of jewellery.

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