• Rather than teasing the buyers, we may blame the society in which they lived for setting up a situation where the purchase of ornate cabinets felt psychologically necessary and rewarding, where respect was dependent on baroque displays. Rather than a tale of greed, the history of luxury could more accurately be read as a record of emotional trauma. It is the legacy of those who have felt pressured by the disdain of others to add an extraordinary amount to their bare selves in order to signal that they too may lay a claim to love.

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