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Peruvian Bridge-Spout Vessel, 100–300

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 […]

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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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Cribbage Board, mid-19th century

In the card game of cribbage, invented by an English poet in the seventeenth century, small cylindrical pegs are moved successively through the holes in a cribbage board to keep score. This board would have been bought by American or European traders in Canton, now known as Guangzhou. The only port city open in China […]

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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 […]