I have just finished reading "The Hare With Amber Eyes--A Hidden Inheritance", by and about famous ceramist Edmund DeWaal and his ancestors.
In this book he explains his world wide search to trace a set of 264 Japanese netsuke (tiny wood and ivory carvings) that came into his possession from a family member who had also inherited them from another family member and so on and so on and so on.
As he traces the journey of the netsuke back to their entrance into his family through a cousin who purchased them at an auction in Paris in 1870, he ends up discovering incredibly well preserved details about his once well known, wealthy Jewish banking family whose lives and livelihoods in Europe were destroyed during the two world wars. The rise and fall of his family members makes for incredibly interesting reading, while the preservation of all 264 netsuke in the collection, particularly during World War Two, is nothing short of a near miracle.
It is a fascinating read. A friend lent the book to me and I must get it back to her, but not before I refresh my memory on some of the more interesting details.