Bird’s the Word in Final Gallery Talk


– James Denison ’14, Student Assistant to the Curator Just a day after a disappointing mid-April snowfall, ornithologist Nat Wheelwright, Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Natural Sciences, reminded museum-goers that spring was still springing when he announced, quite seriously, that he would be willing to bet anyone in attendance that various warblers […]


Peruvian Bridge-Spout Vessel, 100–300

Bridge-Spout Vessel, 100–300
buff clay with polychrome slip
Museum Purchase, Florence C. Quinby Fund, in memory of Henry Cole Quinby, Honorary Degree, 1916

This globular-bodied Early Nasca style vessel presents two monumental images of the Andean condor. The boldly outlined geometrical shapes of the birds and their abstracted mountain environment match beautifully with the vessel’s curves. Like most ancient Peruvian ceramics, this vessel was made without recourse to a potter’s wheel. Built up from coils of clay, it […]


Suzuri-bako (writing case), late 17th–early 18th century

Suzuri-bako (writing case), late 17th–early 18th century, 1925.12

This Japanese writing case comprises a brush compartment, a stone for grinding and mixing ink, and a small pot for water. During the Edo Period (1603–1867), most literate people in Japan owned a writing case, though the quality of the craftsmanship would vary according to the socioeconomic standing of the owner. Ogata Korin, one of […]


Wedgwood & Sons Pitcher, ca. 1880

Wedgwood Pitcher, ca. 1880, 2011.23

Born in Portland in 1807, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Bowdoin class of 1825, returned to teach French, Spanish and Italian languages in 1829. A young and successful professor, Longfellow soon accepted a professorship at Harvard College in 1834. By the mid-nineteenth century Longfellow retired from teaching, becoming one of America’s first self-sustaining authors. With the publication […]


A View from the Arctic

Photo Mar 25, 12 05 24 PM

by Andrea Rosen, BCMA Curatorial Assistant At noon on a surprisingly cold Tuesday in late March, we were treated to the second in a series of three gallery talks titled “Multiple Perspectives in The Object Show: Discoveries in Bowdoin Collections” (read more about the first talk here). Susan Kaplan, professor of anthropology and director of the […]


A Thimble, and a Tale of Two Phebes

Click Here to enjoy an article written by Amanda Spiller ’17 about a recent gallery talk in The Object Show led by Tess Chakkalakal, associate professor of Africana studies and English, and John Cross, secretary of development and college relations.


Saracen Armor, seventeenth century

Saracen Armor: Shield with Bosses, seventeenth century

Syrian Saracen Armor: Shield with Bosses, seventeenth century steel with inlaid silver Gift of the Misses Harriet Sarah and Mary Sophia Walker 1894.84.2 This densely ornamented shield interweaves elements of language and weaponry, communication and conflict. The calligraphy around its rim invokes Allah (“God”), addressed as kafani (“is sufficient to me”); other portions are highly […]


The Objectification of an Obsession


 Daniel Mejia-Cruz ‘16 As ephemeral beings, we are obsessed with the passing of time. By obsession I mean the anxiety that our mortality causes, and how we schedule, restrict, and micromanage ourselves as a result. This is manifested in our creation of objects that record time. I believe that our obsessions with such intangible things […]


Easter Island Chess Set, first half of the 20th century

Chess Set, first half of the 20th century, 2001.6

  Easter Island Chess Set, first half of the 20th century light and dark wood Gift of Gordon MacDougall, Bowdoin Class of 1940 2001.6 Easter Island is the most remote inhabited place on earth. Located in the Pacific Ocean over 3,000 miles off the coast of Chile, it was settled by the Rapa Nui people […]


Two Fighting Shaman, 100 BCE–100

Two Fighting Shaman, 100 BCE–100, 1969.83

Western Mexican Two Fighting Shaman, 100 BCE–100 burnished terracotta with applied slip, added ear ornaments (lost) Museum Purchase, Florence C. Quinby Fund, in memory of Henry Cole Quinby, Honorary Degree, 1916 1969.83 Originally, this hollow, hand-molded, and pit-fired ceramic object held food, perhaps chicha (corn beer), and was placed within a shaft grave that contained […]