Impressions of Yemen

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9782080136473: Impressions of Yemen
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A country surrounded by mountains, Yemen has for many centuries remained untouched by and resistant to foreign influences. Turned in upon itself Yemen is a world whose arts and architecture preserve many links with the past, while integrating the modern world to an often startling degree.

From the coastal plains of the Tihama in the west inland to the cities of Wadi Hadramawt in the east, Pascal and Maria Maréchaux's beautiful photographs reveal the origins and meanings of the extraordinary indigenous painted houses. Yemeni architecture uses only local resources, inscribing its forms directly into the landscape, to produce a highly mimetic effect: the forms and decoration evoke the qualities of the mountains and earth, the natural light, and the vegetation of the environment. Architecture is also an important bearer of social symbolism: brilliant colors are used both to protect and to seduce, to vaunt the wealth and status of the owner; and the organization of interior space defines the central role of hospitality in Yemeni life.

The language of color on both architectural exteriors and interiors reflects the organic world through the use of natural pigments, and also creates complex representational forms linked to the costume and body make-up of the individual inhabitants. In a fascinating text, the authors describe how, through a limited decorative repertoire and the same materials, houses of similar form yet infinite variety are constructed.

This beautiful book introduces us to a misunderstood world, a culture threatened by modern technology, which nevertheless demonstrates a mastery of materials, tools, and symbols to produce a polychrome architecture of immense and lasting power.

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About the Author:

Pascal and Maria Maréchaux have been traveling through and studying Yemen for more than twenty years. As photographers and above all as architects they bring to their work a sophisticated sense of the meaning and composition of the buildings under consideration. They have published numerous books including Arabia Felix (1979) and Yémen (1993), and have curated several exhibitions of their work.

Language Notes:

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

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