72. The Mansion of Thought – Making Knowledge Visual in Three Dimensions, East and West

Edition of 2,000 copies

7.5″ x 7.5″ closed

31″ x 15″ fully extended


Dedicated to Eleanor M. Garvey, the scholar who figured out what I was doing, and enlightened me

Objects and architecture have forever been containers for ideas. Recorded history bursts with manmade structures that make knowledge visual, to aid memorization, to record information, and to enhance ritual practice geared toward each culture’s concept of harmony or spiritual enlightenment. The quest for immortality, universal knowledge and paradise pervades material culture from the start.

Witness these prevalent structures for conveying ideas in the last 4,000 years: the human body, the tree and the column or pillar, frequently interchangeable; the mountain and cave, difficult to separate; and the concept of path, labyrinth or circumambulation, often connected to architecture, gardens and games, adding movement to the forms. Also considered is the orientation of these constructions to features of the natural world, like planets, stars, mountains, caves, water and the cardinal directions.

Over 60 paintings in watercolor give examples from cultures and religions around the world, especially those which used text to explain their ideas. The images interact in a folding picture-book that may be used to make omnipresent geometric forms: triangles, squares, cubes, hexagons, even a house shape. The case that envelops the book outlines the main categories presented. Subjects range from sacred Assyrian trees to Renaissance Cabala and memory theaters, from Humanist Bibles to Buddhism, from Chinese mirrors to Maya astronomy, from Islamic urban planning to Hindu and Jain geometry. Each image is defined in a PDF index that may be printed from the artist’s Web site. (www.angelalorenzartistsbooks.com)

This book builds on The Theater of Nature – Curiosity Filled the Cabinet (2002) about the history of museums from Ancient Greece through the Enlightenment in rhyming verse, watercolor and copperplate etching. The 1500’s in Europe may have been a key moment for attempts to represent universal knowledge visually, but efforts to package ideas in 3-D evolved east, west, north and south.

Printed in Italy on acid-free paper by Stamperia Valdonega Group in Palatino typeface.


Printable Index for The Mansion of Thought

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