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Tiki Central Forums » » Creating Tiki » » Tiki Carving » » Photo Bank: Pre-Contact Oceanic Carvings & Artifacts
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Photo Bank: Pre-Contact Oceanic Carvings & Artifacts
Cammo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 18, 2006
Posts: 1951
From: San Diego
Posted: 2007-05-29 12:46 pm   Permalink

I've been tracking down the history of the Trocadero Museum, apparently the largest and oldest, and probably most influential collection of Primitiva and Oceanic art on Earth.

It's a really bizarre history, and somebody should do a real in-depth study of it, the more I find the crazier it all is. Anything anybody has to add to this, or if anybody has visited the place recently and taken pictures...!

Chronologically, then...

1500’s The King of France and various nobles collect “Cabinets of Curiosities”; strange objects collected from around the world by French explorers.

1840’s French colonialism in Africa and the South Seas is rampant. Many Tiki and Primitive artifacts are collected dating from 1790’s – 1820’s. These are taken mostly at gunpoint, as war booty, or simply lifted after an entire village has been burned to the ground.

In 1878, The Ethnographic Museum of Scientific Missions opens at the Universal Exposition in Paris, the 3rd French World Fair. This was the first pseudo-scientific institution dedicated to classifying and comparing tribal art specimens from around the world. Intent of the museum is to show how clearly primitive the peoples of Africa and Oceania are, and therefore how necessary French Colonization is. Emphasis is put on collecting bizarre, horrible monstrosities to shock the public. Tikis and scary African mask carvings form the center of the collection. The wild success of this exhibition led to a wing of the Palais du Trocadero becoming dedicated to “tribal art” from around the world.

This was, and the collection still is, the largest assembly of African and Oceanic art in the world.

1880 - Musée d'Ethnographie du Trocadéro established.

1887 - Paul Gauguin tours the museum and his paintings begin to change. Not being able to take the museum objects home, he begins to collect African carvings. He is equally influenced, however, by Japanese art.

1891 - Gauguin sails to Tahiti.

1905 - the first painter of the modern era, Maurice de Vlaminck discovers Primitive art. Derain agrees; it was in his studio that Picasso and Matisse saw his white Ivorian mask and were both impressed and disturbed by it. Later that year Matisse sees a mask in Emile Heyman’s shop, and acquires it for fifty francs. He later shows it to Picasso and Appollinaire.

1906 - Matisse is owner of twenty pieces of African and Oceanic art.

1907 - Picasso visits the Trocadero. His is mesmerized and deeply disturbed by the art he finds. The Trocadero by now is damp, evil smelling, with poor displays and empty of visitors.

1907 – Picasso paints his first truly bizarre picture.

1931 - Musée des Arts Africains et Océaniens established, for the ‘Colonial Exposure’ exposition. More Primitive art is collected as it becomes the most popular art in Paris.

1937 - Paul Rivet designs the Museum of Man for the new Paris World’s Fair. This inherits the Ethnographic department of the Trocadero.

As of May 3, 2003, the ethnological collections covering the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific close at the Museum of Man, much against the wishes of the directors. Also, the Musée des Arts Africains et Océaniens closes. All objects are now to be displayed in a new museum.

Opened in 2006; the Musée du quai Branly. A project led by French President Jacques Chirac, meant as a testament to his regime.

More to Come...


 
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benella
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Joined: Sep 27, 2006
Posts: 1423
From: Meudon, France
Posted: 2007-05-29 2:52 pm   Permalink

Hi Cammo,

As a French and tiki addict I visited the "musée du quai Branly" that is very interesting. However, I was a bit disappointed because there's not a lot of Hawaiian, marquesan and maori stuff ;(

Thanks for the historical chronology, that's cool

Benjamin.


 
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Cammo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 18, 2006
Posts: 1951
From: San Diego
Posted: 2007-05-29 3:29 pm   Permalink

Ben, that's apparently what everybody is mad about! The collection is all sitting in boxes in the cellar, at last count the Oceana artifacts number 30,000 items, but very few are on display. Mon Dieu!

I've tried looking up the whole collection on their website but it doesn't work so well.

Did you ever see the display at the Museum of Man or the African/Oceania museum before it closed, I'm extremely interested!

Any chance of a photo tour of the new place? And any info you have or can collect would be amazing, historical or incidental! (What does the public think of the new place?)

Merci, mon ami.


 
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Mr&Mrs BPHoptiki
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Joined: Nov 25, 2006
Posts: 128
From: Burbank,Ca.
Posted: 2007-05-29 4:21 pm   Permalink

I came across this the other day and found it really interesting.

from the British Museum,

Power & Taboo: sacred objects from the Pacific.


Feathered helmet (mahiole)
In Hawaii feathered helmets were worn together with feathered capes or cloaks to cover the entire body in feathers. This wrapping both protected and signalled the power of the most important chiefs.
Known as mahiole, helmets like this one form part of the regalia of high status Hawaiian chiefs and were worn during ceremonies and for battle where the strong basketry framework of the helmet provided some physical protection.
This particular helmet, with its broad crest and braided strip, probably comes from the island of Kaua'i. The crest may symbolise an extension of the backbone, reaching over and downwards to protect the most sacred part of the body, the head.
Documentation in the Museum does not reveal when this helmet was brought to Britain, but it is similar in style to helmets brought back from Captain Cook's third voyage in 1779. Alternatively, it may have been collected on later European visits to Hawaii in the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries. The Hawaiians ceased making feather garments and helmets in the early nineteenth century.


Feather god
In the eastern Pacific birds were seen as being intimately connected with the gods and feathers were one of the most powerful forms of wrapping used to protect, manage and contain the presence of the gods.
This basketry sculpture, clothed in feathers, represents, and could be inhabited by Ku, the god of war. On occasion Lono, the god of rain and agriculture, may also have inhabited this image.
Vast numbers of feathers were required to make images like this. They were gathered by commoners and offered as tribute to chiefs who oversaw the making of great ritual objects. The image also incorporates other sacred materials - human hair and over 115 dogs' canine teeth.
The Hawaiian expert Adrienne Kaeppler has identified this image as one collected on Captain Cook's third voyage (1776-80). It is the only one of the five Hawaiian feather gods in the British Museum's collection to bear human hair, which is plaited centrally producing the effect of a parting. The image has distinctive black feather eyebrows, a mouth edged with dog teeth, and pearl shell eyes.

Go here for the online tour
http://www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk/explore/online_tours/pacific.aspx

Mrs Hoptiki




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teaKEY
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Joined: Nov 09, 2004
Posts: 3664
From: The thumb !
Posted: 2007-05-30 10:25 am   Permalink

I found that a good place to look is Ebay. Sometimes when people are listing books they show tons of photos that you wouldn't see any other way.

Just one example

_________________

Ok, here is a Ebay item that was on a week or so ago

I have been looking at all things Solomon Island lately. My favorite new area.



RARE 19TH C. SOLOMON ISLANDS BARAVA SHRINE CHARM

CONTAINS A WEALTH OF OVER 40 ANCIENT BARAVA ORNAMENTS

Originating from the New Georgia region of the Western Solomon Islands, offered is a remarkable charm that would have been attached to a shrine that contained the skulls of important chiefs. It is said that the spirit of the chief would enter the charm. I have included a historic photo (Festetics de Tolna, 1903) that shows several similar but less elaborate charms attached to a shrine enclosure.

The charm, sometimes referred to as "funerary money", measures 15 inches in length. Attached to the central stick via sennit and rattan fibers, are forty or more ancient barava ornaments that date to the 18th and 19th centuries. The individual baravas were signs of chiefly wealth and were amassed by chiefs during their lifetimes. This charm was originally purchased from a New Zealand private collection and was reported to have been collected in the early 20th century. It is rare to find such a charm complete with all of its individual barava ornaments intact.

When I found the Item it was just US $55.00 but by the end of the bid it climbed to US $1,456.87.



[ This Message was edited by: teaKEY 2007-05-30 18:28 ]


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Cammo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 18, 2006
Posts: 1951
From: San Diego
Posted: 2007-06-04 4:03 pm   Permalink

More Carvings!

Balega, Congo, 5.5" tall.


This one is so simple, but wild. Love to carve something similar.

Belega, Congo. 6.25" tall. From the Belgium African Museum.


Nigeria, 6.5" tall. Buzzy liked this one -


Wish this guy was in color -

Congo, Ivory, 4.5" tall.


Reliquary Figure, used to ward off evil spirits from the bones of relatives.
Bakota, Gabon. 2 feet tall -


And this is the big one. This carving, it's not a mask, started in a collection way back in the 1820's. It's been passed off, bought, acquired, and appreciated by artists and the collecting elite since then, and finally ended up in the NY Museum of Primitive Art started by the Rockefellars. It's more or less the centerpiece of the collection, and may be the one carving outside of the Trocadero exhibits that started the whole rush to actually collect African Art!

It's currently at the Met in NYC, I saw it a few months ago and was blown away by it's lines and style. What this photo barely shows is that it's carved in two totally different fashions, divided exactly down the center. The hairline and back are perfectly geometric, the face is all swooping curves. It's so well done when you see it in person, and just so modern, it's astounding.

Nobody knows who carved it.

Gang, Gabon, 1790's?



 
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benella
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 27, 2006
Posts: 1423
From: Meudon, France
Posted: 2007-06-06 04:03 am   Permalink

Hi Cammo,

Here is a link with some of the sculptures you can see at the musee du quai branly:

http://www.quaibranly.fr/index.php?id=603&no_cache=1&sword_list[]=marquises

(On the top of the page you can choose english)

I unfortunately didn't see the musee de l'homme and the musee du Trocadero.

About the musee du quai Branly, I can tell you that lots of people love it but a few people don't like it too ! Because it is quite a special architecture (Jean Nouvel) and because of the growing of the plants on his wall (that don't grow very fast ).

Few more info next time!

Benjamin.
_________________
Tiki Tribe Paris
Tiki stuff


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54 house of bamboo
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Sep 28, 2006
Posts: 302
From: Cambridge UK
Posted: 2007-06-06 09:45 am   Permalink

You might like this link for Oceanic art in Paris - be sure to hover over the gallery link and don't miss the additional links to the pictures there.
http://www.galerie-meyer-oceanic-art.com

And I have a great museum right on my doorstep here where I live - the University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology - currently showing Pasifika Styles http://www.pasifikastyles.org.uk/exhibition/

Liz

_________________

The Stevenson Wedding Mug by Cheekytiki, 2006

[ This Message was edited by: 54 house of bamboo 2007-06-06 09:48 ]


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Sneakytiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2003
Posts: 1795
From: Boise, Idaho
Posted: 2007-06-06 9:06 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-05-17 21:46, Tiki-Kate wrote:
I'm going to give this a shot. I have no details though. Just a few pics from New Zealand museums.












---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay, I'm going to try to help ID some of these.

Top pic. are shield/skull racks from N. New Guinea in the Papuan Gulf area.

The white and brown female figure in the second from top pic. with hands above her head meeting at center is a Kulap figure from New Ireland, these were mortuary figures from the S. of New Ireland. I believe this figure was collected by the Rev. George Brown in 1878.

The mask with white and black elements in the bottom pic. is the only mask style ever recorded from Micronesia. Masks were abundant in Melanesia and altogether lacking in Polynesia. Current theory is that Micronesia was settled from Melanesia from the South, the Phillipines and Indonesia from the West, and from Polynesia from the East. This mask is thought to represent a Melanesian cultural influence. The mask is from Satawan Atoll, Mortlock Islands, Caroline Islands, Federated States of Micronesia. The feather cape to the right of the black and white mask is Polynesian, specifically Hawaiian.

In the picture above the feather cape and mask the cone shaped sculpture to the left of the brightly painted Melanesian figure is from Buka, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea.

The paddle in the picture above the brightly colored New Guinea figure is from Buka, Solomon Islands, New Guinea also.

The brightly colored figure is from the Sepik river region of New Guinea, and I'd have to attribute it to the Abelam tribe, as painted it is obviously post contact due to the divergence away from the worldwide very common color scheme of stone-age cultures, red oxide, white clay, black charcoal, and sometimes yellow ochre.

That's all for tonight. I thought it was ashamed that these items were not attributed. I hope this is good info. for some of you. Possibly interesting to Tiki Kate.

Aloha!
ST

[ This Message was edited by: Sneakytiki 2007-06-15 14:22 ]


 
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pdrake
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 13, 2006
Posts: 1767
From: las vegas
Posted: 2007-06-07 5:37 pm   Permalink

if you don't have this book, you should pick it up. it's really nice and has some great illustrations and pictures.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Made-in-the-South-Pacific-Art-Book-Christine-Price-HB_W0QQitemZ8006527006QQihZ019QQcategoryZ279QQrdZ1QQssPageNameZWD1VQQcmdZViewItem

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Sneakytiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2003
Posts: 1795
From: Boise, Idaho
Posted: 2007-06-07 11:09 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-05-17 22:13, Cammo wrote:
Musée du Quai Branly. No more info on the following stuff;

This jolly little fellow is creepy as hell.




This is a Korwar figure. They are from (Geelvink Bay), Irian Jaya (West New Guinea). The scrolling patterns on the front are similar to Indonesian openwork canoe prows which the residents of NW New Guinea have as well. Anthropolgically speaking, Indonesia ends after Geelvink bay, that is to say, although half the huge Island of New Guinea is politically Indonesia, this is where the cultural influence/continuity ends.



[ This Message was edited by: Sneakytiki 2007-06-07 23:14 ]


 
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Cammo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 18, 2006
Posts: 1951
From: San Diego
Posted: 2007-06-08 04:24 am   Permalink

I still think it's creepy as hell, but I'll admit - maybe that's my ethnocentric point of view.

Here's a cool resource I've been using for years, ABE Book Search, one of the best search engines for used books, this configuration is arranged from lowest to highest price;

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchEntry?errorcode=1

Often the books are way cheaper than ebay final sales. Good hunting.

It's hard nailing the history of lots of these items, without the info right there in front of you - it's almost impossible to take notes in a museum that link up with your shots.

I've noticed some patterns emerging, though . . .

1. Museums rarely post dates of these carvings. They get all the other info right, but exact dates are slippery. Sometimes the dates are listed as "Pre 1840" which really doesn't say much.

2. The actual carver is never identified. The region, yes, tribe, yeah, but no names. This happens right up to pretty recent times.

3. These carvings are often a design handed down from older times, each tribe has certain standardized styles they duplicate. So we really don't know how old the originals truly are, they go way back.

4. Most of the older pieces were almost uniformly collected by Priests and Reverands, which kind of goes against the religious war on the natives story. I think the early collectors were more open minded, and grabbed some good stuff to show off, and it was the later explorers and colonizers that decimated the arts, maybe entirely for commercial resons. Ultimately ironic, because the most valuable items coming from the Pacific are it's arts.

5. Museums try to be multicultural and respectful, except with HOW they acquired these pieces in the first place. And you'll notice the little explanation boxes are always in English, not in Samoan, etc.


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Sneakytiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2003
Posts: 1795
From: Boise, Idaho
Posted: 2007-06-08 11:35 am   Permalink

Quote:


And this one is just great. The Solomons have some really odd carvings, you could make this into a cocktail olive sticker;

Fish Figure, Southern Solomon Islands. Wood with Mother of Pearl Inlays, about 6 feet long!




You could put the "olives" inside the figure, as this is in fact a skull reliquary that would hang from the roof beams. It contained revered skulls, sometimes ancestors bones as well. The fish represented is a Bonito, a fish whose hunting prowess is admired by the islanders.

These pictures are great, thanks for posting them!

As far as the Korwar figure being creepy, I think it is cultural norms, the Korwar is the Western equivalent of having Grampa's ashes and sometimes maybe talking to his ashes or "headstone".

ST


[ This Message was edited by: Sneakytiki 2007-06-09 09:26 ]


 
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Sneakytiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2003
Posts: 1795
From: Boise, Idaho
Posted: 2007-06-09 12:42 am   Permalink

[quote]
On 2007-05-18 21:59, Tiki-Kate wrote:
Here are a few more.
{quote}
Trying to ID these too.



The stone fig's above MAY be stone pig effigies from Vanuatu, which are for "magic". They might also be cave stones gaurding Polynesian burials, not sure which? Paipo, Tama, any help here?

The ceiling double hook figure in the photo below is from Sepik River region of New Guinea, Iatmul tribe. Again, the piece on the R. is Buka. The two pieces with their back to the viewer appear to be Malagan funerary statues. Can't be sure right on the left one, the one cropped off the photo R. definitely is a Malagan from Mapua island.



The piece far R. below is a Marquesan (had this as boat prow, turns out it's not, see post below). The fig. in the center has the look of a piece from Fiji/Tonga/W. Polynesian area. The Leftmost fig. I can't say but it looks very New Ireland or New Britain-ish.




The items #8-9 above could be lime spatulas from the Massim region of islands, New Guinea, used for getting lime from gourd to chew stimulants with.


The wood piece above looks like very weathered painted Maori. from the outside of a structure.




_________________
To drown sorrow, where should one jump first and best? "Certainly not water. Water rusts you." -Frank Sinatra


[ This Message was edited by: Sneakytiki 2007-06-09 17:41 ]


 
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HOUSE OF KU
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 15, 2005
Posts: 538
From: TIKILAND, USA
Posted: 2007-06-09 04:17 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-06-09 00:42, Sneakytiki wrote:

{quote}
Trying to ID these too.

The piece far R. below is a Marquesan Stilt









 
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