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370 different species of wood raw linseed oil
five exhibition boxes together: 450 x 183 x 62cm
one box: 183 x 52 x 62cm
one block: 24 x 5 x 1cm
Collection: Jack Ginsberg


Translated from Willem Boshoff’s original thesis in Afrikaans titled ‘Die Ontwikkeling en Toepassing van Visuele Letterkundige Verskynsels in die Samestelling van Kunswerke, Beeldhoukuns en Grafiese Kuns deur Willem Hendrik Adriaan Boshoff’ submitted for his National Diploma in Technology, Witwatersrand Technikon, November 1984, page 72

370 Day Project

  • During the period of one and a half years when I was planning to start 370 DAY PROJECT, I collected about 30 species of the better-known kinds of wood in South Africa. After I had begun the project on 12 September 1982, I undertook a diligent search in all South Africa's wooded regions to find 340 more species.


    I compiled a list of names of the species, the persons from whom the wood was obtained and the places where it was found. I also recorded the date on which the wood was processed, not only on the list but on the block of wood concerned. Other important information on the list of woods used is classified as follows:

    • Each entry takes up two lines.

    • The key numbers appear before each entry and correspond with the alphabetical list.

    • The botanical name of each species consists of two or three references: the name of the genus under which the plant is classified, and the specific name of the plant, which can be divided into subspecies (subs.) and variety (var.).

    • Commonly-used synonyms appear after the botanical name, and I frequently add English and Afrikaans local names.

    • The origin of the species is mentioned at the end of the first line, and in the case of South African species the abbreviation 'S.A.' is followed by the national tree number.

    • Problems and queries are marked with a question mark.

    • The general information in the second line ends with the date on which the wood was processed.


    The dimensions of each wooden display box are a replica of the surface measurements of a coffin. The dimensions of a coffin are derived from those of a six-foot man. By implication the man is 'buried under all the work'.


    The surfaces of the blocks are divided in two, and I repeated this division on the surface of the coffin. In this way it becomes a book within a book. There are 365 days in a year. The figure closest to 365 which is divisible into a square is 370 (37 x 10), which is why there are 37 blocks in each of the ten rows across. The 3 and the 7 of 37 add up to ten. The ten rows down and the 37 rows across are therefore numerically related.


    For the portable storage files, I used seven rows of seven blocks each, which could be easily stored in the files. I used these to help with the weekly and daily checking and counting of all the blocks. A 'workshop file' of the same size as the others fitted comfortably into a shoulder bag that could be taken along on any journey or outing.<