In the late 1950s, Chauncey C. Nash started collecting Inuit carvings just as the art of printmaking was being introduced in Kinngait (Cape Dorset), an Inuit community on Baffin Island in the Canadian territory of Nunavut. Nash donated some 300 prints and sculptures to Harvard’s Peabody Museum—one of the oldest collections of early modern Inuit art. The Peabody collection includes not only early Inuit sculpture but also many of the earliest prints on paper made by the women and men who helped propel Inuit art onto the world stage.
Author Maija M. Lutz draws from ethnology, archaeology, art history, and cultural studies to tell the story of a little-known collection that represents one of the most vibrant and experimental periods in the development of contemporary Inuit art. Lavishly illustrated, Hunters, Carvers, and Collectors presents numerous never-before-published gems, including carvings by the artists John Kavik, Johnniebo Ashevak, and Peter Qumalu POV Assappa. This latest contribution to the award-winning Peabody Museum Collections Series fills an important gap in the literature of Native American art.
Peru’s ancient Moche culture is represented in a magnificent collection of artifacts at Harvard’s Peabody Museum. In this richly illustrated volume, Jeffrey Quilter presents a fascinating introduction to this intriguing culture and explores current thinking about Moche politics, history, society, and religion.
Quilter utilizes the Peabody’s collection as a means to investigate how the Moche used various media, particularly ceramics, to convey messages about their lives and beliefs. His presentation provides a critical examination and rethinking of many of the commonly held interpretations of Moche artifacts and their imagery, raising important issues of art production and its role in ancient and modern societies.
The most up-to-date monograph available on the Moche—and the first extensive discussion of the Peabody Museum’s collection of Moche ceramics—this volume provides an introduction for the general reader and contributes to ongoing scholarly discussions. Quilter’s fresh reading of Moche visual imagery raises new questions about the art and culture of ancient Peru.
Artistry of the Everyday presents the Peabody Museum’s collection of arts from the Berber-speaking regions of North Africa. The book gives an overview of Berber history and culture, focusing on the rich aesthetic traditions of Amazigh (Berber) craftsmen and women. From ancient times to the present day, working with limited materials but an extensive vocabulary of symbols and motifs, Imazighen (Berbers) across North Africa have created objects that are both beautiful and practical. Intricately woven textiles, incised metal locks and keys, painted pottery and richly embroidered leather bags are just a few examples of objects from the Peabody Museum’s collections that are highlighted in the color plates. The book also tells the stories of the collectors—both world-traveling Bostonians and Harvard-trained anthropologists—who brought these objects from Morocco or Algeria to their present home in Cambridge in the early twentieth century. The generosity of these donors has resulted in a collection of Berber arts, especially from the Tuareg regions of southern Algeria, that rivals that of major European and North African museums.
Feeding the Ancestors presents an exquisite group of carved spoons from the Pacific Northwest that resides in the collections of Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Carved from the horns of mountain goats and Dall sheep, and incorporating elements of abalone shell and metal, most of the spoons were collected in Alaska in the late nineteenth century and were made and used by members of the Tlingit tribe. Hillel Burger’s beautiful color photographs reveal every nuance of the carvers’ extraordinary artistry.
Anne-Marie Victor-Howe introduces the collectors and describes the means by which these and other ethnographic objects were acquired. In the process, she paints a vivid picture of the “Last Frontier” just before and shortly after the United States purchased Alaska. A specialist in the ethnography of the Native peoples of the Northwest Coast, Victor-Howe provides a fascinating glimpse into these aboriginal subsistence cultures as she explains the manufacture and function of traditional spoons. Her accounts of the clan stories associated with specific carvings and of the traditional shamanic uses of spoons are the result of extensive consultation with Tlingit elders, scholars, and carvers.
Feeding the Ancestors is the first scholarly study of traditional feast spoons and a valuable contribution to our knowledge of Pacific Northwest Coast peoples and their art.
Anne-Marie Victor-Howe is an anthropologist and Research Associate of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University.
Rosita Worl is President of the Sealaska Heritage Institute in Juneau, Alaska.
In 1905, to the consternation of her family and in defiance of convention, the 48-year-old Duchess Paul Friedrich of Mecklenburg took up the practice of archaeology. In the nine years leading up to the First World War, she successfully excavated twenty-one sites in her home province of Carniola (modern Slovenia), acquiring the patronage of Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef I and German Kaiser Wilhelm II. Mentored by the most important archaeologists of her time—Oscar Montelius and Josef Dechellette—the Duchess became an accomplished fieldworker and an important figure in the archaeology of Central Europe. Gloria Greis incorporates previously unpublished correspondence and other archival documents in this colorful account of the Duchess of Mecklenburg and her work.
The Mecklenburg Collection, the largest systematically excavated collection of European antiquities outside of Europe, resides in Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. The sites excavated by the Duchess, which encompass the scope of Iron Age cultures in Slovenia, form an important resource for studying the cultural history of the region. A Noble Pursuit presents a selection of beautifully photographed artifacts that provide an overview of the scope and importance of the collection as a whole and attest to the enduring quality of the Duchess’s pioneering work.
Highlighting one of the Peabody Museum’s most important archaeological expeditions—the excavation of the Swarts Ranch Ruin in southwestern New Mexico by Harriet and Burton Cosgrove in the mid-1920s—Steven LeBlanc’s book features rare, never-before-published examples of Mimbres painted pottery, considered by many scholars to be the most unique of all the ancient art traditions of North America. Made between A.D. 1000 and 1150, these pottery bowls and jars depict birds, fish, insects, and mammals that the Mimbres encountered in their daily lives, portray mythical beings, and show humans participating in both ritual and everyday activities. LeBlanc traces the origins of the Mimbres people and what became of them, and he explores our present understanding of what the images mean and what scholars have learned about the Mimbres people in the 75 years since the Cosgroves’ expedition.
Steven A. LeBlanc is an archaeologist and former Director of Collections at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University.
Rubie Watson is Curator of Comparative Ethnology in the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University.
In 1879 Edwin Curtiss set out for the wild St. Francis River region of northeastern Arkansas to collect archaeological specimens for the Peabody Museum. By the time Curtiss completed his fifty-six days of Arkansas fieldwork, he had sent nearly 1,000 pottery vessels to Cambridge and had put the Peabody on the map as the repository of one of the world’s finest collections of Mississippian artifacts. John House brings us a lively account of the work of this nineteenth-century fieldworker, the Native culture he explored, and the rich legacies left by both. The result is a vivid re-creation of the world of Indian peoples in the Mississippi River lowlands in the last centuries before European contact. The volume’s focus is Curtiss’s collection of charming and expressive effigy vessels: earthenware bowls and bottles that incorporate forms of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians, and humans, including the Peabody’s famous red-and-white head vase.
John H. House is Station Archaeologist, Pine Bluff Research Station, and Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
This is the first publication on a remarkable collection of sixty-six outstanding Pueblo and Navajo textiles donated to the Peabody Museum in the 1980s by William Claflin, Jr., a prominent Boston businessman, avocational anthropologist, and patron of Southwestern archaeology. Claflin bequeathed to the museum not only these beautiful textiles, but also his detailed accounts of their collection histories—a rare record of the individuals who had owned or traded these weavings before they found a home in his private museum. Textile scholar Laurie Webster tells the stories of the weavings as they left their native Southwest and traveled eastward, passing through the hands of such owners and traders as a Ute Indian chief, a New England schoolteacher, a renowned artist, and various military officers and Indian agents. Her concise overview of Navajo and Pueblo weaving traditions is enhanced by the reflections of noted artist and Navajo textile expert Tony Berlant in his foreword to the text.
Laurie D. Webster is an independent scholar and textile consultant, and Visiting Scholar in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Arizona.
Tony Berlant is an artist and author, and collector, curator, and expert on Navajo textiles.