Sara Cromwell

MOA Receives NEH Grant

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) recently selected the Museum of Anthropology as a grantees.  The Museum was one of only three institutions in North Carolina chosen to receive funding for 2013.  The NEH awarded the MOA a grant of $5,022 for wall mounted art storage screens.  Registrar and Collections Manager Kyle Bryner developed the project in order to complete the final stages of rehousing the permanent collection in the Museum’s offsite storage facility.  The screens will provide a storage solution for the collection’s oversize weaponry, including arrows, bows, spears, harpoons, and staffs, as well as other tools and weapons too large to fit on compact storage shelves.  The screens will also allow for proper storage of large framed objects such as two Comanche painted hides and a framed collection of North Carolina projectile points.  The grant is part of $14.6 million awarded by the NEH to 202 projects in 43 states and the District of Columbia.

 

Conservation Fundraising Focuses on Yoruba Object

House of the HeadBGnewsIn November, the Museum launched its annual campaign to support the “Save Our Hide” Conservation Fund.  This account allows tax-deductible donations to be set aside to restore important artifacts to their former glory so they can be placed on exhibit, furthering the Museum’s mission to provide opportunities for intercultural learning.  This year, the Museum staff selected a Yoruba object from Nigeria known as a house of the head, or ile ori, as the focus of the fundraising drive.  The Yoruba believe that the head is the seat of a life force that determines a person’s essential nature and destiny.  The house of the head shrine is designed to contain a person’s inner spiritual essence.  It is the center of rituals and offerings to ensure good fortune and an ideal fate.  The Museum’s house of the head is made of cloth embellished with colored glass beads.  Due to its condition, it must be stabilized before it can be exhibited for the first time.  The help of our patrons is essential to completing the conservation of this artifact.  Please contact Sara Cromwell at moa@nullwfu.edu or 336.758.5282 if you are interested in providing financial assistance for this important project.

 

Heart Ex-Voto

This wooden carving from Canindé, Brazil, is known as an ex-votoHeart web
or milagre (Portuguese).  Canindé is an important pilgrimage site, particularly during the feast of St. Francis.  In areas with such strong traditions of petitioning God or saints for relief from troubles, religious pilgrims offer these objects in gratitude for their answered prayers, often for recovery from an illness or injury.    Ex-votos can take the form of paintings or sculptures made from a variety of materials including wood, cloth, or wax.  They often represent parts of the body that have been healed.  The petitioner in this case may have recovered from a heart attack or other cardiac ailment.  The MOA has more than 275 votive sculptures from Brazil in the permanent collection.

Ceremonial Flute

PNG FlutewebThis ceremonial flute is from the Mumeri Village in the Middle Sepik region of Papua New Guinea.  Papua New Guinea is home to one of the most diverse populations in the world with over 1,000 separate communities with their own customs and traditions and more than 800 languages spoken in an area slightly larger than California.

Mumeri Village is particularly noted for their handcrafted flutes which include elaborately designed wooden stoppers decorated with faces representing clan figures as well as totemic animal figures.  The stoppers are painted with clay or vegetable based pigments.  The sacred flutes are usually played in pairs during ceremonies and initiations.  The Mumeri people consider the low melodic tones to be the voices of the clan’s ancestor spirits.  Traditionally, women, children, and uninitiated boys are not allowed to see the flute being played.

Inuit Lithograph

DecObjectCROPweb

This 1976 framed lithograph by Canadian Inuit artist Pitseolak Ashoona is titled “Memories of Childbirth.”  The print depicts a woman in labor supported by 3 other women on the left side and the woman post-labor holding her child on the right.  Pitseolak (1904-1983) did not begin working as an artist until later in life as a way to support her family after relocating to Cape Dorset on Baffin Island following her husband’s death.  Her artwork can also be found in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada.

House of the Head

House of the HeadBGwebThis Yoruba object from Nigeria is known as a house of the head, or ile ori.  The Yoruba believe that the head is the seat of a life force that determines a person’s essential nature and destiny.  The house of the head shrine is designed to contain a person’s inner spiritual essence.  It is the focus of rituals and offerings to ensure good fortune and an ideal fate.  The Museum’s house of the head is made of cloth embellished with colored glass beads.

The shrine is the featured object for this year’s Save Our Hide conservation fundraising drive.  Click here for more information on the Conservation Fund and how you can help!