Possession is Nine-Tenths: Historical Detritus of Syria (volume I)


Dublin Core


Possession is Nine-Tenths: Historical Detritus of Syria (volume I)


Cultural Property--Middle East
Archaeology--Moral And Ethical Aspects
Cultural Property--Protection--Moral And Ethical Aspects
Artists' Books--Washington (State)--Bellingham--Specimens


This is the second book in, "Desert Dreams: Explorations & Excavations of HK in Greater Syria," a 30-volume boxed set exploring the fictional archaeology tale of HK. The identity of HK is unknown, and the collection becomes a study of this individual as much as a record of Syria. This book opens into an exhibit built from HK's private collection of artifacts plundered during wartime, which can save them from being destoryed/ Referencing ISIS at Nimrud and the Taliban at Bamiyan, the work asks, who owns these objects: the creators, private collectors, museums? The objects in this book represent restrung ancient beads, a tile from the emperor’s feasting hall representing Justice found in Shahbah, a pottery shard without provenance, a small clay tablet without provenance. Each of the 30 books uses Hedi Kyle strucutres, an influencial bookmaker of new forms and strucutres, and this collection was created in honor of Hedi Kyle.

Inscription: Signed by artist in pencil on colophon and numbered.

Colophon reads: Have no fear. There are no actual artifacts acquired illegally in this collection. They are all fakes. The 'Sumerian' necklace has been made with real lapis lazuli and carnelian beads and 'gold' and 'silver' spacers. The stone beads were purchased from Fire Mountain Gems and Beads. Spaces, marble tile and fimo clay were purchased from Michael's. I broke a clay pot to make the pottery shard and then decorated it. The paper is Cougar Opaque Natural 65 cover and 70 text. The images were downloaded from the Library of Congress and massaged in Photoshop. The text was written by Elsi Vassdal Ellis. Copyright 2015. This book is part of the Desert Dreaming series of books in honor of Hedi Kyle.

Edition size: 25


Ellis, Elsi Vassdal


EVE Press
Bellingham, WA


These materials may be protected under copyright law and may only be used for educational, teaching, and learning purposes. If intended use is beyond these purposes, it is the sole responsibility of the user to obtain the appropriate copyright permissions.


Materials/Printing: inkjet, davey board, lapis lazuli and carnelian stone beads, metal beads, marble tile, facsimile pottery shard, facsimile cuneiform tablet

Structure/Folds: pivoting panels, accordion fold, Hedi Kyle.

Dimensions: 16 x 11 x 3 cm (closed), 16 x 70 x 1 cm (open)


artists' books (books)


Twenty-first century (dates CE)

Date Created



The original object was photographed with a NIKON D300 digital camera at 300 ppi as a JPEG file format. The JPEG file was then modified in Adobe Photoshop.
Photographer Marie A. Andrews
5 total views: front view, back view, interior view


Ellis, Elsi Vassdal, “Possession is Nine-Tenths: Historical Detritus of Syria (volume I),” Seattle Art Museum Libraries: Digital Collections, accessed March 29, 2023, https://samlibraries.omeka.net/items/show/1456.