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Wax Promises
by Angela Lorenz
 
Edition of 50 copies
2.2"x2.9", 3.5" with cord
Bologna, Italy 1991
Wax Promises is a reproduction of the prototype for the Western book. The original materials consisted of wood or occasionally ivory tablets spread with maroon beeswax and bound with a cord sealed by the owner. The tablets were made in two sizes: larger ones for contracts or deeds and rough drafts of literary works, smaller ones for love notes and private communications. This information comes to us through Ovid, Seneca, and Martial, who described such books in their works.

Messages in wax become promises that can't last, as the empty tablets from Pompeii in the Naples museum attest. The ephemeral qualities of wax make it an appropriate metaphor for love, which is what the poem inside is about. Wax was also commonly used, by men and women, as a depilatory in Ancient Rome. Even as a depilatory, its function is only temporary. The book itself is a false promise: instead of sweet smelling wax, an odorless plastilene is in its place on which the poem is printed with linotype in Times Roman. When Bologna was a Roman city it was known as Bononia.



 

 
TEXT
   

WAX PROMISES

BONONIA MCMXCI

ooo

WAX PROMISES

TO BE IMMORTAL

ooo

WAX PROMISES

TO SMELL SWEET

ooo

WAX PROMISES

TO STRIP YOU BARE

ooo

WAX WANES

BONONIA MCMXCI