Sunday, December 29, 2013

Balance of Power: A Throne for an African Prince

According to Yoruba oral history, artist Olówè of Ise (about 1870–1938) could sculpt a person’s likeness on the spot—without looking at the wood he was carving. This special exhibition spotlights a single extraordinary work by Olówè: a throne he made for Prince Ilori, heir apparent of the town of Isè in southwestern Nigeria. This exhibition is organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts. On view until March 16th, 2014.

Image courtesy of the Detroit Institute of Arts

Friday, December 27, 2013

Gold and the Incas: Lost Worlds of Peru

The National Gallery of Australia is hosting a major international exhibition, Gold and the Incas: Lost Worlds of Peru, until April 21, 2014. This installation is the most important survey of Peruvian art ever staged in Australia and will showcase the splendor of the ancient pre-Hispanic cultures of Peru. Audiences will encounter the aesthetic depth, drama and beauty of the famous Incan empire and its predecessors. More than 200 objects, from scintillating gold pieces made to decorate the nobility in life or in death, intricate jewelery, elaborate embroidered and woven cloths to breathtakingly sophisticated ceramic sculptures will be on display.

Images and information courtesy of the National Gallery of Australia

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Beyond Eldorado: Power and Gold in Ancient Colombia

From the Spanish Conquistadors to DreamWorks Studio’s animated heroes Tulio and Miguel, and by way of Voltaire’s Candide, many have dreamed of El Dorado. Whether a utopia or a myth, the legend of this lost city of gold rests on a fascinating reality that the British Museum’s most recent exhibition explores. Beyond El Dorado: Power and Gold in Ancient Colombia, on view through March 23, 2014, begins with the ritual that is the origin of the notion of El Dorado, which means “the golden one.” In this ritual, which was celebrated at Lake Guatavita, not far from what is now Bogota in Colombia, an individual who was contending for power was covered with gold dust, dove into the lake, and emerged as a chief of the Muisca people.

For more information on this exhibition, visit the official website.

Images and information courtesy of The British Museum

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Miniatures - New Exhibit at Jacaranda Tribal

Jacaranda Tribal is currently presenting a new online exhibit devoted to beautiful, diminutive tribal works from southern and central Africa, New Guinea, North America, and elsewhere. From tiny ivory carvings from the Congo to antique fish hooks from the far reaches of the Pacific, these works embody a quiet beauty that draws the viewer in, inviting one to a closer examination of elegance.

Below are some highlights from the exhibit. For more information on these objects and many more, visit

Korwar figure  -  New Guinea (Irian Jaya)  -  19th century

Ikokho pendant  -  Pende, D.R. Congo  -  Late 19th or early 20th century

Charm figure  -  Dogon, Mali  -  Late 19th or early 20th century

Fish hook  -  Eskimo  -  First quarter of 19th century

Wirework gourd  -  Shona, Zimbabwe  -  Late 19th or early 20th century
Charm figure  -  Dengese, D. R. Congo  -  Late 19th or early 20th century

Images ©James Worrell 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Curtis Reframed: The Arizona Portfolios

In the early decades of the 20th century, famed photographer of the American West Edward S. Curtis created and published a vast photographic record of North American Indians. These iconic images have generated controversy even as they have fascinated generations of viewers. Photogravures from the permanent collections of the Arizona State Museum and examples of the copper plates from the collections of the Center for Creative Photography are currently on view at the ASM in Curtis Reframed: The Arizona Portfolios, an exhibition exploring Curtis’s work with thirteen Arizona tribes from 1903 to 1928. Twenty images will be exhibited at one time, then rotated after six months, for a total of sixty over the life of the exhibit.

Information and images courtesy of the Arizona State Museum

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tribal Art Auction at Koller

Koller of Zurich will present a sale of tribal art and artifacts today, December 11. Featuring a range of works from Africa, the Americas, and elsewhere, the sale will highlight a special selection of objects from the Galaverni Collection.

Mask  -  Dan, Liberia
Mask  -  Nafana, Burkina Faso
Figure  -  Cameroon Grassfields

Images courtesy of Koller Auktionen

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Before and after the Horizon: Anishinaabe Artists of the Great Lakes

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and the Art Gallery of Ontario are together presenting Before and After the Horizon: Anishinaabe Artists of the Great Lakes, the first major museum survey of Native artists from the Great Lakes region. The exhibition features more than 100 works from prehistory to the present day. These range from early tools to clothing to weapons to items of ritual life, as well as visual expressions of contemporary artists.

Visit the exhibition's official website.

Images courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian

Monday, December 9, 2013

Chiefs and Governors: Art and Power in Fiji

Chiefs and Governors: Art and Power in Fiji , on show now at the Museum and Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge, is the first ever exhibition dedicated to traditional Fijian art outside its home country. It draws on MAA’s exceptional collection of Fijian artifacts, photographs and archives, a collection closely linked to the early colonial history of Fiji and the foundation of the Museum. Baron Anatole von Hügel, MAA’s first curator, travelled within Fiji between 1874 and 1877, and along with Sir Arthur Gordon (First Governor of Fiji) and Alfred Percival Maudslay (Sir Arthur’s private secretary) assembled an impressive Fijian collection, including outstanding objects presented by Fijian and Tongan chiefs. This material formed the founding ethnographic collection of the Museum when it opened in 1884. 

Information and image courtesy of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge