Category Archives: 2012 Fall, ART/MST 488: Basic Conservation of Art and Artifacts

Cast and Wrought Iron Fenced Enclosures Researched and Conserved by Alex Pense and Hillary Kummer

Iron fenced enclosures were commonly used in 18th and 19th century cemeteries to define and protect a family plot, or even a single grave. Not only did fences deter vandals, but they also prevented the gravestones from being knocked over or broken by wandering cattle or wild animals such as deer…

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Concrete Grave Markers Researched and Conserved by Allison Bleich

Grave markers are meant to commemorate and honor the person and to mark the location where that person was buried. An interesting aspect of these three grave markers is their material: They are made of concrete rather than stone. This choice of material may be in part because these monuments mark the graves of African Americans, who may not have had access to stone grave markers, or…

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Spirit Spouse Figures, Researched and Conserved by Tawn Dickison

The Baule culture of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire believe that every husband and every wife has a spirit spouse of the opposite sex living in the “Other World,” and that when their relationships in this world are not going well, this is because their spirit spouse is angry with them and is causing problems.

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Small Saltillo Sarape, Researched and Conserved by Elizabeth Haughey

A traditional sarape is a knee-length blanket made of two pieces of woven cloth that are sewn together vertically, leaving a slit in the center that allows the blanket to be worn as a poncho. Sarapes may also be worn folded length-wise and draped over one shoulder. The Saltillo sarape is named for its origin in the city of Saltillo in northern Mexico in the 16th century. The sarape has roots in the Tlaxcalan cultures of this region, but it blends these pre-Columbian weaving traditions with those of the Spanish and the Mexican Mestizo (mixed indigenous and Spanish) cultures.

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Benin Brass Figures, Researched and Conserved by Clara Komrosky-Licata

The art of casting brass, bronze, and copper has been part of the artistic heritage of the Benin culture since the Benin adopted this practice from the Ife in the 13th century. As one of the three royal materials of ivory, coral, and brass, these metals were reserved for the Benin royalty, who tightly controlled brass production up until the modern period.

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Toucan and Butterfly Basket, Researched and Conserved by Kimberly Proctor

The Emberá and Wounaan women of Panama are celebrated for producing very fine basketry. Traditional baskets, known as Hosig Di, were woven of chunga and naguala palm fibers, which were originally lidded baskets that were plain or had simple geometric designs. Their fine, labor intensive weaving distinguished these from everyday baskets, and Hosig Di were used as boxes to hold small treasures and coveted objects.

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Ceramic Animal Vessel (Reproduction?), Researched and Conserved by Sammie Hernandez

The Casas Grandes sites of Northern Mexico formed part of the ancient American Southwest cultural region. Like other American Southwest cultures, they made hand-formed, coiled potter that ranged from simple, utilitarian vessels for cooking and storage to elaborate vessels made for important rituals and for export to other American Southwest cultures.

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Shield with Six Faces and Raffia Tassels (Pakei), Researched and Conserved by Stephenie Walker

The Biwat are a sub-culture of the Mundugamor, who live near the junction of the Yuat and Sepik Rivers of New Guinea. The 20th century brought European missionaries and diseases to New Guinea, as well as extreme environmental changes including floods, droughts, and earthquakes.

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Adone Headdress, Researched and Conserved by Ross Kenagy

The Kurumba culture of Upper Volta and Mali of West Africa created a headdress known as the Adone, which is a stylized depiction of an antelope. The Adone in this exhibit is clearly a 20th century version of the headdress, as it has a large half-domed mask at the bottom of the sculpture that conceals the face of the masquerader, and it has holes along the edges of the mask, so that wearers of the headdress may tie raffia to the holes to cover the neck and shoulders and conceal their identities.

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Bolo Entertainment Mask, Researched and Conserved by Catherine Munoz

The Bobo of Burkina Faso and Mali revere the god Wuro, the indescribable being who created the world. It is believed that, when humans spoiled the earth, Wuro departed, and he left in his stead his son Dwo, who was revealed in the form of a mask. All Bobo masks are said to represent Dwo; however, they are not direct representations of this supernatural being, as it is not possible to represent Wuro and Dwo in physical form.

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Abelam Yam Mask (Babamini), Researched and Conserved by Catherine Munoz

The Abelam culture of the Sepik River region of Papua New Guinea create different masks and sculptures for use in religious ceremonies. These works are often carved from wood, and then they are painted in four bright colors, which include red, white, yellow, and black. Because yams are a primary subsistence crop for the Abelam, the growing of yams is accompanied by many ceremonies…

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Male and Female Ancestor Spirit Figures, Researched and Conserved by Lauren Fitzpatrick

Male and female figures of ancestor spirits are made and used by cultures such as the Iatmul and the Sawos, who live in the Middle Sepik River region of New Guinea. The figures usually represent significant deceased family members, although among the Sawos they also represent supernatural spirits known as waken or wan…

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