post

Japanese Lunchbox Set, 1600–1867

Lacquer has been used in the arts of Japan for over 6,000 years. Created from the viscous sap of the urushi tree, the raw toxic material is processed into safe, durable, and luminous surfaces for objects such as this tiered lunchbox. The pleasures of the consumption of food are enhanced by the aesthetic enjoyment offered […]

post

Peter Follansbee on the Searle/Dennis Carved Box

Read a fascinating post by Peter Follansbee about our 17th-century Box with Drawer carved by William Searle (School of Thomas Dennis) Thank you, Peter, for visiting Bowdoin and sharing your knowledge about the construction of this incredible object in our collection. Please return soon!

post

Winslow Homer’s Watercolor Box and Brushes, ca. 1900–1910

Winslow Homer’s Watercolor Box and Brushes, 1900–1910 Gifts of the Homer Family 1964.69.191 and 1964.69.193.a–.b In anticipation of Winslow Homer’s birthday on February 24, seen here  are some tools of his trade: two paintbrushes and his watercolor box. The acclaimed American artist (1836-1910) is best known for marine landscapes depicting both rugged work and quiet leisure, […]

post

The Object Show Open House

Bowdoin College Museum of Art 2014 Winter Open House. Video and editing by Kiyomi Mino ’16, Student Assistant to the Curator

post

Stop, Look, Think

Cordelia Miller ’15, Student Assistant to the Curators, Summer 2013 One of the central aims of the exhibition The Object Show: Discoveries in Bowdoin Collections is to share how crucial physical artifacts are to learning and teaching. What do we mean by “objects”? For our purposes, “object” is a fairly broad category, meaning anything made […]

post

Coffer with print depicting the Monogram of Christ, ca. 1490–1500

French, probably Paris Coffer (book box?) with woodcut depicting the Monogram of Christ, ca. 1490–1500 wood, paper, metal, and red canvas Museum Purchase, Lloyd O. and Marjorie Strong Coulter Fund 2008.8 In the 1480s King Louis XI of France passed laws that required travelers to carry identification while traversing roads and entering city boundaries. This […]

post

Bieri (reliquary) figure, 19th century

Fang (Gabon) Bieri (reliquary) figure, 19th century wood Museum Purchase, Florence C. Quinby Fund, in memory of Henry Cole Quinby, Honorary Degree, 1916 1969.70 This figure was created by the Fang people, a historically itinerant group living in Gabon in central Africa. Figures like these were meant to sit on a reliquaries: bark containers or baskets […]

post

Reconsidering the “Traditional” in The Object Show

Luke Drabyn ‘15 The ornate nineteenth-century Chinese cribbage board and the twentieth-century Easter Island chess set were both objects crafted for commercial purposes and sold as exotica to foreigners. As civilizations from both East and West increasingly merged as a consequence of imperialism, demand for “traditional” goods—desirable due to their foreign label—intensified, thus creating a […]

post

Remembering (Almost) Forgotten Crafts

Last Thursday afternoon we gathered in Kresge auditorium for an illuminating panel led by notable artists and craftsmen whose methods are closely linked to pieces shown in The Object Show. Sharing their creative processes and sources of inspiration, these makers helped us to better appreciate techniques that are rarely practiced today and require intensive hands-on […]

post

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 […]