Friday, April 27, 2012

Tribal Art at Sotheby's - May 11, 2012

Sotheby's will present a two-part sale of fine tribal art and artifacts on May 11, 2012.  The African art collection of the late Dr. Werner Muensterberger will comprise a significant portion of the auction, showcased alongside a host of other exquisite lots from the Lerner, Shoher, and Vogel Collections. 

Visit the official Sotheby's website.

Helmet mask  -  Luluwa, D.R. Congo
Stone head  -  Sapi (Proto-Temne), Sierra Leone
Male torso  -  Mbembe, Cross River Region, Nigeria
Reliquary figure  -  Kota, Gabon
Ancestor figure  -  Buyu, D.R. Congo
Portrait mask  -  Baule, Côte d'Ivoire  -  Totokro Master
Zigzag figure  -  Bamana, Mali

Information and images courtesy of Sotheby's

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bundu: Sowei Headpieces at the QCC Art Gallery

The Bundu or Sande Society is a pan-African association of women found among several West African groups in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.  It educates and initiates young girls so as to enable them to assume their place in an adult society as wives and mothers and as social and political leaders.  Entry into this society confers not only political power, but also introduces members to the association’s role in promoting wellness and treating disease.  As a result, it is also a medicine society that employs both spiritual and physical therapies to help those in need, especially women and children.

Bundu masks, which are the focus of a current exhibition at the QCC Art Gallery in New York, are unique in sub-Sahara Africa in that they are the only ones worn by women in public masquerades.  These sowei helmet masks, which are diverse in form, are worn by female masqueraders draped in black raffia who embody the society’s spirit and serve as intermediaries with the ancestors.

This exhibition presents sixty sculptures that display the wonderful stylistic diversity of these masks among the Bassa, Gola, Mende, and Vai peoples of Africa.

Visit the exhibition's official website.

Information and images courtesy of the QCC Art Gallery

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Inca Trail: The Past of the Andes

Through December 2012, a new thematic exhibition devoted to Andean cultures will be on view at the Barbier-Mueller Museum for Pre-Columbian Art. The Inca Trail is organized into two parts, the first of which deals with the indigenous cultures that preceded the establishment of the Inca Empire, the second being devoted entirely to the latter's creations. The exhibition's connecting thread is the Qhapaq Nan, or "Inca Trail," a gargantuan network of roads that linked what is now southern Colombia with northwestern Argentina and central Chile, by way of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Ninety-eight pieces from the major cultures of this geographic area, twenty-six of which come from the Barbier-Mueller's collection, are superbly presented.

Visit the exhibition's official website.

Cup with mythological figure  -  Jama Coaque, Ecuador  -  500 BC–750 AD
Double-spouted jug  -  Chimú, Peru  -  1100–1500 AD
Stirrup-spout vessel with portrait head  -  Moche or Mochica, Peru  -  200 BC–700 AD
Standing figure  -  Chorrera, Ecuador  -  800–400 BC
Cup with male figure  -  Jama Coaque, Ecuador  -  500 BC–500 AD
Vessel with copulating couple  -  Huari, Peru  -  600–1000 AD
Stirrup-spout vessel with multiple figures  -  Moche or Mochica  -  300–1000 AD
Crown ornament depicting a mythical feline  -  Moche or Mochica, Peru  -  200 BC–700 AD

Information and images courtesy of the Musées Barbier-Mueller

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Patagonie: Images du Bout du Monde

Currently on view at the Musée du quai Branly, Patagonie: Images du bout du monde (Patagonia: Images from the End of the World) presents a diversity of representations, narratives and myths attached to the great southern tip of the Americas.  Departing from historical accounts and centuries-old, fantastic reports of the furthermost reaches of South America, the exhibition seeks to separate fact from fiction, providing a contemporary perspective on a land and group of indigenous cultures once obscured by fable. The objects on view, which include a marvelous group of rare photographs regarding Hain ceremonials, are drawn from the quai Branly's own collection as well as French and German private collections.
On view through May 13.

Visit the exhibition's official website.

Information and images courtesy of the Musée du quai Branly

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Art of the Anatolian Kilim at the de Young Museum

A world-class collection of Anatolian kilim textiles given to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco by H. McCoy Jones and his wife, Caroline, is showcased in a choice exhibition of two dozen of the finest examples. Presented in the textile arts gallery at the de Young, the Anatolian flat-woven textiles on view, dating from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century, include a variety of design types and regional styles, as well as superb examples of artistic and visual prowess. The examples in the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s permanent collection are considered the most important group of such Anatolian textiles outside Turkey.

Visit the de Young's official website.

Information and images courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Shapeshifting: Transformations in Native American Art

Entering its final weeks at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, Shapeshifting: Transformations in Native American Art celebrates Native American ideas that have crossed time and space to be continuously refreshed with new concepts and expressions. Visitors are welcomed to experience this vitality through sculpture, paintings, ceramics, textiles, photographs, videos and monumental installations drawn from collections in the United States, Canada and Europe. Rarely seen historic pieces, shown alongside some of the finest contemporary works, demonstrate the diversity and continuity of Native American art and culture from 200 B.C.E. to the present.

Visit the official website.

Information and images courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Unmasking Masks at the Museé Barbier-Mueller, Geneva

Currently on view at Geneva's Barbier-Mueller Museum is Unmasking Masks, an exhibition highlighting a selection of 100 masks from a wide range of traditional cultures around the world. To this range of items––all hailing from very diverse eras––the show's curators have added carnival, occupational, and sports masks, as well as works by contemporary artists.

Visit the official website.

Information and images courtesy of the Musées Barbier-Mueller

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Maya: Secrets of Their Ancient World

Entering its final week at the Royal Ontario Museum is the major showcase Maya: Secrets of Their Ancient World. This groundbreaking exhibition features 250 artifacts that take visitors on a remarkable journey through the history, art, and puzzling collapse of the Maya civilization. A collaborative effort between the ROM, Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History and the Canadian Museum of Civilization, this exhibition explores the entire world of the Maya, from the rule of kings and queens to the lives of everyday people.

Visit the official website.

Incensario stand depicting the Jaguar God of the Underworld  -  Late Classic Period, 600–900 AD
Reclining figure gazing into a mirror  -  Late Classic Period, 600–900 AD
Jade mask  -  Late Classic Period, 600–900 AD
Incensario stand with the head of a noble  -  Classic Period, 250–900 AD
Vessel with iguana/jaguar/human hybrid  -  Classic Period, 250–900 AD

Information and images courtesy of the Royal Ontario Museum

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Aztec to Zapotec: Pre-Columbian Art at the OMA

Currently on view at the Orlando Museum of Art, Aztec to Zapotec: Selections from the Ancient Americas Collection features more than 180 works made prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus and the Europeans during the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. Representing a span of more than 3,000 years, the exhibition is drawn from the OMA’s comprehensive Art of the Ancient Americas Collection and gives a rare glimpse into the life and culture of numerous civilizations from the North, Central and South American regions. Significant ancient works of gold, silver, jade, ceramic, shell and wood are included from the cultures of the Aztec, Maya, Moche, Nasca, Inca and Zapotec.

View the official website.

Male effigy jar  -  Recuay, Peru  -  100–300 CE
Nose pendant  -  Yotoco (Calima), Colombia  -  1–800 CE
Figural urn  -  Zapotec, Mexico  -  300–600 CE

Information and images courtesy of the Orlando Museum of Art