Worth a visit

6th November 1998 at 00:00
JAPANESE ART AND DESIGN: A TEACHER'S GUIDE. Textiles: A Teacher's Guide. Victoria and Albert Museum. Pounds 7.30, inc. postage. Tel: 0171 938 8352.

These publications focus on the link between culture, artefact and manufacture, using objects in the VA's permanent collection. Illustrated in glossy black and white, both A4 booklets have an attractive range of photographs, diagrams and detail. The aim is to help teachers get the most out of museum visits.

The Japanese book combines visual and literary examples with "How to Make" exercises to stimulate pupils. Motifs and symbols are explained alongside an interesting section on Japanese pictorial narrative style. The material, selected carefully, could be used at primary, secondary and post-16 levels. The physical layout of the museum, with its discrete area dedicated to Japanese art and culture, makes this text particularly practical.

Textiles is divided into sections on weaving, dyeing, printing and embroidery, and is aimed at secondary school teachers. Since most are specialists in technique, the emphasis on craft and processes seems unnecessary. Far better would have been an audit of the textiles in the VA's rooms, drawers and galleries. With the somewhat confusing arrangements of rooms dedicated to this area, such a guide could prove very useful.

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