Artifact of the Month

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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Baule Wooden Door

Baule Wooden DoorThis wooden door from the Ivory Coast was made by the Baule people in the mid-20th century.  Known as anuan, such doors are carved with a variety of motifs as decorative embellishments for both ...

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Dog Tooth Necklace

Dog Tooth Necklace

In pre-colonial Papua New Guinea, animal teeth, like the dog teeth in this necklace, were used as an exchange medium.  They were also used for aesthetic adornment, similar to gold or gems in ...

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Taino Bat Zemi

Taino Bat Zemi

The Taino are indigenous people of the Caribbean and the first Native group to encounter Columbus.  For the Taino, the term zemi can refer to a deity or ancestral spirit as well as the object ...

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