Friday, June 5, 2009

MyWorld Tuesday: Museum of Ethnology

Last week I've been to the Museum of Ethnology in Hamburg.
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They allow you to take photographs, as long as you don't use a flash and so I've brought back pictures.
The Egyptian section is small, but there are some really beautiful pieces, like those little amulets of Taweret, a godess who protected pregnant women in particular.
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a figurine of a Spitz
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a glass jar for cosmetics, called a Kraterikos

a figurine of Thoth
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let's go a bit further south:
a mask from the Ivory Coast, it's name is korobla, which means "Release the bone". When people were thought to be under the influence of an evil spell, that mask was used to release them.
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an Edo warrior, from Nigeria

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an aardvark, from Mali - the Banama believe that the aardvark taught the humans how to farm the earth

The museum has a big collection of mesoamerican art. Here's a bowl showing a fight between a tortoise god and a crab god. It's from the Moche culture in Peru, between 100 and 700 AD.
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a bottle, from the Chimú (also in Peru, 1000-1470 AD)
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a Maori meeting house, a whare whakairo - you can enter it and see the inside, with beautiful carvings
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from Bali, the bird Garuda the Hindu god Vishnu rode on
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what I like most about the museum is the big collection of mask, from the South Seas in particular. They are shown in a darkened room and it makes them even more impressive. Seeing them, I can understand very well the power they held over the minds of the people who made them.

two masks from New Guinea
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from New Ireland
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from Papua New Guinea, the mask is from the beginning of the 20th century and shows a European
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also from New Guinea: a skull that has been decorated with coloured clay, seashells and other things. This was done both to skulls of ancestors as well as to skulls of enemies.

and here's my favourite thing of the whole collection: enormous masks called Hareicha made by the Beining from New Guinea. They can be up to twelve meters tall and represent benign spirits. The masks as worn during the coming of age-ceremony, carried on the head of a dancer and held upright by a number of helpers with ropes and bamboo poles. I've seen that in a documentary and it's really impressive!
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see how small that guy looks compared to the masks?
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I hope you enjoyed the tour :) To travel further around the world, visit the MyWorld Tuesday meme

18 comments:

Maria said...

Thank you for this interesting trip to the Museum of Ethnology!

fishing guy said...

Jennife: What neat captures you made in the museum.

Carver said...

I enjoyed the tour so much. Sounds like a fascinating museum and you took some great shots.

Sylvia K said...

I love musuems and this was a fabulous tour with great shots! Thanks for sharing!

Arija said...

A wonderful museum. both the building and the colllections.
Thanks for your comment on mine and setting me straight on the arch collapse, amazing how stories change over time. One wonders how much truth there is in all the holy texts after millenia whan this occured after a few years.

Susan at Stony River said...

Those masks are AMAZING! I love Polynesian art and ancient Egyptian history; I think I need to go visit this museum. LOL
Thanks for a wonderful tour!

SandyCarlson said...

I am so glad you were able to take these. These artifacts are really impressive and dramatically displayed.

barb said...

How interesting! Those masks are amazing. However, the Aardvark was my favorite piece shown! :-D

I use to go to the both the Science Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston at least once a month when I was growing up. I could get lost in times gone by and I almost missed my train every time!

Babooshka said...

I am amazed they let you take images in there at all. Wonderful opportunity and a pleasure to see and learn

Dina said...

Wild and wonderful things you've showed us! Isn't the world amazing in its diversity and creativity?!

James said...

That museum has some really great stuff. Having been to Papua New Guinea I can really appriciate the masks.

ewok1993 said...

Always fascinating to go to museums and see relics. Lovely post. That museum has an imposing facade.

Ebie said...

Great collection of artifacts!

ms toast burner said...

Woo! I love this. I studied anthropology and I love museums and galleries and all sorts. What a fantastic post! I've not been to Germany yet but when I do, I will have to explore this place... thanks for letting me know of it!

Karen said...

Great photos and an interesting tour of the museum !!

I was quite excited to see the Maori meeting house ... a sight from back home :-)

Unseen Rajasthan said...

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Pierre said...

Thanks for sharing some superb photographs of the Museum of Ethnology - perhaps you may care to also contribute to the travel community at trivago?
Regards,
Pierre

Martha Z said...

An interesting museum with a very comprehensive display.