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The Yoni - about the book

Background details of the book

The Yoni is an artistic book of feminine fertility symbols.

Stylistically the book is European, with a cover like a jacket of hard bound book that holds the synoptical information on the fly leaves. The pages are loose so that they can be seen, held, and mused upon individually. They have a specific order but they can be re-arranged so that embossed images can be grouped, for example by aquatints, dry points, curvilinears or geometric images etc.

In a metophoric sense, a religious or devotee would, with reverence, leaf through the pages like a Catholic Christian feel the rosary beads, prayerfully; or display sections in a sacristy according to the seasons of the religious year:
  • White (embossings) for the new year (the maiden);
  • sensual, for the need to fructify;
  • darkest, for the closing year, etc.
The box (made for the first set) is Japanese in flavour, as is the mulbury paper outer cover, and is influenced by the boxed Japanese books in the Oriental book department in the National Library of Australia. It signifies the concept of the work of art being a treasure, and the artist who makes something not for 'himself', but for 'his' God, as any religious artist would - not for personal gain, but as an act of love.

The synopsis included in the book is to give background information, as does the accompaning 'paper'. My mother, a former journalist, commented that my work would be more interesting to the public if its raison d'être was explained. I am concerned with the concepts of the divine - she thought I was being pornographic.

Gillian Mann 1984
Medium techniques

53 Intaglio images (miniatures)
  • 14 photo etchings
  • 11 dry points
  • 9 etched line
  • 7 aquatints
  • 9 embossings
  • 1 mezzotint
  • 1 sugarlift
  • 1 softground
Introduction and post script: photo etching
End image: open bite etching


I thank most sincerely and with gratitude, Michael Sainsbury, Technical Assistant of the Ceramics Workshop at the Canberra School of Art (1984) who made so beautifully the wooden case which encloses this book. It is made from Australian wood (Queensland Walnut).