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Wedgwood & Sons Pitcher, ca. 1880

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 […]

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Two Fighting Shaman, 100 BCE–100

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 […]

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Malagan Masks, 19th century

Melanesian (New Ireland) Malagan Masks, 19th century polychrome, wood, natural fiber Gift of Harold M. Sewall 1898.67-69 The Malagan ceremony takes place among the tribes of New Ireland, an island off the coast of Papua New Guinea. The ritual is meant to complete the cycle of mourning for those who have died, sending off their […]

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Spiny Lobster, late 19th century

Although this object might at first glance appear to be a spiny lobster, it’s actually an intricate ivory model, created in Japan towards the end of the 19th century. With the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the Japanese feudal system was finally eliminated, and Japan emerged as a modern, industrialized country. The Japanese government encouraged artists to […]