The book is fundamentally about mulberry trees (both Morus nigra and Morus alba) and all the artefacts created from both the wood and other materials such as silk. The study looks at mulberry trees in the United Kingdom and also those that grow in Japan - including those located on the Izu Islands. The material culture analysis features a model developed at Winterthur Museum in the USA that details information on place, space, technique and technology, maker and marketplace, ritual and custom plus message and symbol . The focus in the United Kingdom relates to mulberry trees associated with historic buildings and gardens. Most of the United Kingdom based trees that feature in the book have a significant history and associations with important people such as William Shakespeare. While the trees in Japan can also have significant age they tend to be associated with the Japanese Sashimono furniture tradition and the wood called shimakuwa (island mulberry) is the most highly regarded wood - which is often used in the tea ceremony. The material is becoming extremely rare and its use is now limited due to the expense of the raw material.
Stephen Bowe is Senior Lecturer, Liverpool John Moores University.
276 x 219 mm
September 14, 2015