Artifact of the Month

Majiayao Basin

Basin
The archaeological remains of the Neolithic Majiayao culture were discovered in northwestern China in the early 20th century.  While more than 2000 sites have been identified, less than 3% of ...

Categories: Artifacts

Kiowa Strike-a-light Case

Kiowa Strike-a-light case
Among the last of the Plains tribes to surrender to the U.S. Cavalry, the Kiowa have shared an Oklahoma reservation with the Comanche since 1868.  A member of the Kiowa tribe made this ...

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Day of the Dead Plate

Day of the Dead plate
This ceramic plate was made by artisan Fidel Avalos Espinosa in the Mexican state of Michoacán.  Avalos works in the town of Capula, a noted center for ceramic arts. He is particularly known ...

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Tongan Barkcloth

Tongan BarkclothBarkcloth from the Pacific island nation of Tonga, which is known tapa, is made of the pounded inner bark of the Paper Mulberry tree. Raw material is taken from young trees, dried and soaked, and ...

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Yup'ik Dance Fans

Yup'ik Dance Fans
The Yup’ik people of Alaska use hand-held dance fans, called tegumiak, to emphasize the graceful motions of dancers’ arms during ceremonial dances.  Yup’ik dancing is most commonly ...

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Zulu Medicine Horn

Zulu medicine horn
Goat horns like this one are used by Zulu healers known as isangoma who specialize in divination and mediation with ancestral spirits.  Many illnesses are thought to be connected to spiritual ...

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Poison Darts & Quiver

Matis Poison Darts and Quiver
Used in the Amazon rainforest by members of the Matis tribe, these blowgun darts are typically tipped with curare, a poison made from scraping and boiling bark from a poisonous vine found in the ...

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Japanese Carp Streamers

Carp StreamersIn Japan, May 5 is Children’s Day, known as Kodomo-no-hi, which celebrates the health and happiness of children.  Though it was previously known as Boy’s Day, the date was made a national ...

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Uzbek Suzani Textile

Suzani Textile
Made of silk and cotton, textiles like this one are referred to as suzani, which comes from the Farsi word for needle.  Though they are found across Central Asia, the textiles originated in ...

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Chinese Changsha Ware Bowl

Chansha Ware Bowl
This bowl is an example of Changsha Ware from the Tongguan Kilns near the city of Changsha in modern-day Hunan Province, China.  Changsha Ware is a durable watertight type of pottery known as ...

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