Chinese jade: the mystery behind its enduring attraction

Jade is at the center of a story of money and magic that goes back over 8,000 years. In China, its use dates back to the Neolithic period, between 6000 and 5000 B.C.

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Piero Fornasetti: master of trompe l’oeil

Only a collage of images can truly capture the genius of Italian designer Piero Fornasetti (1913-1988) – pictures succeed where words fail.

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Beyond blades, Viking metalsmiths fashioned jewelry

The perception surrounding Vikings varies. From fierce raiders who invaded lands far and wide, to the comical and clumsy Hagar the Horrible comic strip character, created by Dik Browne in 1973. That spectrum is nearly as wide as the ground the Norsemen covered during migration from Scandinavia. Their departure reportedly began as early as the eighth century.

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Private eyes: designer sunglasses

The evolution of sunglasses begins with flat slabs of smoky quartz in 12th century China. Over time they have become an example of function and fashion, with historic ties to the military and Hollywood.

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Wit, wisdom and wonder of Japanese woodblocks prints

The influence of woodblock printing is far reaching. Although the process became popular with artisans in the 18th century, woodblocks served an important role in the work of 17th century printers. The use of woodblock printing resulted in reproduction of important text for large-scale distribution.

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‘Believe It or Not’ – 10 facts about Robert Ripley

1. LeRoy Robert Ripley (1890-1949), grew up in Santa Rosa, California, and played semipro baseball in his teens. He traveled to New York City in 1913 at the urging of his friend, writer Jack London. He tried out with the New York Giants, but broke his arm in a training game, effectively ending his chances at a big league baseball career. At that point Ripley became a full-time cartoonist. It was at the suggestion of one of his editors that he dropped “LeRoy” and became “Robert L. Ripley” (the editor believed “LeRoy” didn’t sound masculine enough).

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Visual time capsules: around the world in historic maps

Maps are a snapshot from the history of the world. They record the result of battles, migrations and the birth of new nations. Enthusiasts collect maps for various reasons – the mind, the eye and the heart all play a role.

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American country: 10 classic forms

Everyday objects from the Americana countryside have an inherent simplicity that blends well with even minimalist modern interiors. They display elegant lines, pleasing proportions, and vivid colors which add eye-catching highlights to a harmonious room setting. A weather vane or hooked rug mounted on a white wall can make that space.

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Golden era of California pottery & ceramics

California has a long history of producing functional ceramics (e.g., flooring, roof tiles, etc.) that dates back to the westward migration of the 1840s. The Golden State’s art pottery movement emerged and flourished from the 1930s through 1960s. During that period in Los Angeles alone, there were more than 300 potteries producing tableware, tiles and other art pieces.

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Blast from the past: ’50s monster movie posters

Imagine you’re 19 again and back in the 1950s. Summer is here. You jump in your hot-rod Lincoln, pickup your best girl and cruise out to the drive-in theater for an all-night monster movie marathon.

They’re all fond memories now – the car, the girl, drive-in theaters – but the movies survive in the form of posters that someone had the foresight to save.

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