Download A History Of The World In 100 Objects - BBC Transcript by Neil MacGregor PDF

By Neil MacGregor

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Rowan Williams again: 'At the beginning, of course, you can't really pull apart religion and art can you? Art is sacred because it is taking you to this space where you're not just doing the subject/object arm's-length approach to nature, it takes you to a new place and that's a religious activity. It's only as time goes on that religion becomes much more involved with issues around power, and art becomes much more involved with issues around self-expression, and these days, the two often look at each other from separate mountain peaks, peering in a puzzled kind of way through the mists.

The handaxe is about to accompany us on a huge journey; because with all these skills, we're no longer tied to our immediate environment. If we need to - even if we just want to - we can move. Travel is possible, maybe even desirable, and we can move beyond the warm savannahs of Africa and survive, perhaps even flourish, in a colder climate. The handaxe is our passport to the rest of the world, and in the study collections of the British Museum you can find handaxes from all over Africa - Nigeria, South Africa, Libya - but also from Israel and India, Spain and Korea - even from a gravel pit near Heathrow airport.

The chef Madhur Jaffrey is still very attached to her pestle, which her mother gave her when she left India, and she came to look at ours: 'I just thought it was beautiful to look at and had a well-honed, worn look, and a patina that made me feel that it was used - and used again and again. It is a fundamental act both of cooking and of living, and living with a family and passing on, at least in India. 'When I left India, which was a long long time ago, my mother gave me certain utensils to take with me, and they were all heavy, I remember that.

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