This first weekend of March 2021 the Financial Times Magazine published a beautiful review of Hives, 2400 B.C.E. – 1852 C.E. The article was written by Edwin Heathcote architecture and design critic at Financial Times.
Screenshot of the article on the Fiancial Times Magazine’s website. [ID: On the left of the image, one can see the title of the article:
Beehives through the ages: from baskets to a Bee Madonna, a white text on a black background. On the right we can see one of the archive image presents in the book. The image is black and white and shows several uncanny beehives with wood carved human figures.]
The metaphor of the beehive standing for the industrious society is, perhaps, a little overused. This self-contained city of Stakhanovite workers toiling together to harvest and produce, each with their defined role, has served as an idealised model for capitalism, the Protestant work ethic, communism, banking, freemasonry, Mormonism and much more. Beehive ornaments — little ribbed baskets shaped like a bishop’s mitre — adorn buildings across the world, from churches to stock exchanges, town halls to temples. What these decorations show is a skep, a traditional ribbed, woven bulbous basket. To extract the honey, a keeper would probably have had to kill the hive — which does sound like a metaphor for extreme capitalism, though not one our own queen bees of industry might choose. […]
(Edwin Heathcote 2021)
You can read the entire article, if you have a subscription, here: Financial Times Magazine!
Or buy the weekend issue in your newsagents if you are in the UK!