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Art and artefact

By Wessie du Toit  

What separates art and artefact? At the British Museum, the question always seems pressing. Earlier this year, the Ice Age exhibition showed us art at its purest, carved from ritual and superstition. The first representations of the female form, faceless and totemic, stood inside their glass cases like an abyss, demanding we accept the ancient, sacred purpose of creativity. But this power, although aesthetic, was not simply artistic; at the museum’s current attraction, documenting the Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum in…

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