In The Lure of Gold (Abbeville, $75) archaeometallurgist Hans-Gert Bachmann journeys through six glittering millennia of artistic and cultural history, from Egypt's gold-tipped obelisks to the Kremlin's gilded domes. More amusing are the stories of the Roman general Mark Antony, who preferred to use a gold chamber pot and the legendary king El Dorado who ruled in the Colombian Andes and coated himself in gold dust to appease the demon of Lake Guatavita. Organized by historical epoch, this lavishly illustrated book examines the meanings of gold across civilizations, as well as techniques for working the radiant and durable metal. Find out how compositions on Celtic coins foreshadowed Art Deco motifs and how the same material that once legitimized powerful rulers has become Snoop Dogg's "bling." For another take on the precious metal, see the American Museum of Natural History's Gold, an exhibit that showcases a number of ancient gold artifacts. It's especially strong on New World objects, including elaborate Mixtec bells in the shape of godlike warriors and monkeys, and extremely fine ritual gold bottles made by the Chavin culture of Peru. It is on view through August 19.
||The Golden Pavilion Temple in Kyoto, Japan, is featured in The Lure of Gold. (Courtesy Abbeville Press) [LARGER IMAGE]
© 2007 by the Archaeological Institute of America