Wood that Can be Beat: Fijian Barkcloth Beaters

Barkcloth Beater ( Ike ), 19th Century Viti Levu, Fiji, Polynesia Wood; 10 ¼ x 2 5/16 x 2 1/8 in. 2019.20.1 Bowers Museum Purchase March to the Beat of your Own Beater Whether made from the sheared wool of adorably cloud-like animals, pulled from cotton plants or spun from the gossamer silk of worms; textiles are made with a variety of methods thro...
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Tolúk: Palauan Women’s Currency Trays

Woman's Valuables (Toluk), early to mid 20th Century Palau, Micronesia Tortoiseshell 2019.17.32-.33 Gift of Frieda O. Wray from the Estate of Dr. & Mrs. Douglas and Carolyn Osborne Have Tolúk and See Them The Bowers Museum recently acquired the Osborne Collection, an assemblage of objects originating from the island country of Palau—an archipel...
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Feathered Funds: Solomon Island Currency Rolls

Feathered Currency Roll ( Tevau ), late 19th-mid 20th Century Santa Cruz Islands, Temotu Province, Solomon Islands, Melanesia Feather, bark, shell, fiber, resin and bead; 6 x 15 5/8 x 16 3/4 in. 2001.74.14 Gift of Mr. William Moran Red the Feather that Coils With the Bowers Museum’s recently opened Dimensions of Form: Tamayo and Mixografía , many v...
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Birds of a Feather: Plumed Headdresses from Around the World

Detail of Feathered Headdress, 20th Century Kayapo Mebêngôkre culture; Xingu River area, Para, Brazil Macaw and waterfowl feather, string and cotton; 68 x 57 in. 91.34.1.1-.2 Bowers Museum Acquisitions Fund Purchase As the Crow Flies, Not So Far Bird feathers are surprisingly intricate structures: leaflike in nature with a rigid or semi-rigid midri...
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Two-Face: An Unfinished Tongan Paddle Club

Details of Paddle Club ( Mougalaulau ), mid 19th Century Tonga, Polynesia Wood; 45 ½ in. 2019.19.1 Bowers Museum Purchase; Photograph courtesy of Michael Hamson Endless Buffering The towering spires of Antoni Gaudí’s Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, the fragmented narrative of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Love of the Last Tycoon or Michelangelo’s unfin...
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Night’s Bane: Fire Dance Masks of New Britain's Baining Culture

Fire Dance Mask ( Vungvung ), 20th Century Baining culture; Gazelle Peninsula, New Britain, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia Bark cloth, bamboo cane and paint; 65 x 53 x 148 1/2 in. 2007.6.1 Gift of Anne and Long Shung Shih Sparks Like Stars in the Sky Held at torch-point against a pressing sea of night or built as a pyre to b...
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Five Faces of the Moon

Composite image of the moon and objects in this post. One Giant Leap On July 20, 1969 three humans boarded an aluminum and stainless-steel rocket, rose into the heavens and collectively became the first group to set foot on another celestial body. Taking his first apprehensive steps on the alien scape of the moon, Neil Armstrong famously said “that...
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Out of the Pouch: Shedding Light on a Papuan Marsupial Figure

Marsupial Figure, 1500 BCE-1600 CE Laiagam Valley, Central Enga Province, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia Stone; 3 1/2 × 3 1/2 × 7 1/2 in. 2019.8.1 Bowers Museum Purchase Set in Stone When it comes to the art of Papua New Guinea, very few things are literally set in stone. Bags are made from fiber or coir, shields and clubs from wood, ornaments from fe...
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Gone Fishing: Catching Neptune’s Bounty on Father’s Day

Fishing Hook, late 19th to early 20th Century Iñupiaq culture; Seward Peninsula Area, Alaska Walrus ivory, lead, iron and cotton thread; 2 1/4 × 4 1/8 in. 39352 Gift of Winifred P. Morgan Let’s See What’s Biting, Champ Some dads fit all the clichés. They are handy when something needs fixing, quick with a pun but otherwise tactful enough to let mom...
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Blade with a Beak: New Guinean Bone Daggers

Bone Daggers ( Yina and Amia Ava ), 20th Century Abelam and Iatmul culture; East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, Oceania Cassowary bone and pigment 2010.22.5-.31 Gift of Anne and Long Shung Shih They do Move in Herds Unassuming dinosaurs of the modern era that they are, cassowaries are incredible creatures. For example, though flightle...
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At Harms Length: Shark Tooth Spears of the Gilbert Islands

Spear Heads ( Tataumanaria ), late 19th Century I-Kiribati culture; Gilbert Islands, Kiribati, Micronesia Palm wood, shark teeth and sennit; various dimensions 2019.6.1-.2 Gift of Anne and Long Shung Shih Into the Maw The Bowers Museum’s continued efforts to improve our Oceanic Collections has driven the acquisition of several shark tooth weapons f...
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Much Naboo About Nothing

Sculpture, late 20th Century Possibly Kwoma culture; Middle Sepik River Region, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia Wood, pigment and cowrie shell; 55 in. 98.18.10 Gift of the Jordan Community Trust Return of the Fourth Younglings, padawans and Jedi masters, it is time to force the important issues once more! In previous years the Bowe...
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Dragon Glass: Taking Stock at the Bowers Museum

Battle and Hunting Weapons, 300-1519 Michoacán, Mexico Obsidian; various dimensions 2003.10.42C-I Anonymous Gift The Night King Cometh As most fantasy buffs are well¬-aware, HBO’s Game of Thrones returns for the first of its final six episodes this upcoming Sunday. Not to spoil too much of the show for those who are interested in watching but have ...
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Bring a Shark to a Knife Fight: Short Blades of the Gilbert Islands

Knife ( Tebutu ), 19th Century I-Kiribati culture; Gilbert Islands, Kiribati, Micronesia Palm wood, tiger shark teeth (galeocerdo cuvier) and sennit; 6 1/2 in. 2019.3.1 Bowers Museum Purchase War Changes Quite a Bit If humans have consistently been innovative in any one field, it is in the discovery of more effective ways to injure one another. Oft...
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Progenitor Protection: Wooden Shields of the Asmat

War Shields, 20th Century Central and Northern Asmat culture; Papua (Irian Jaya) Province, Indonesia, Melanesia Wood, pigment and sago-frond; Various Dimensions 2017.10.148, L.2010.4.4, F75.16.1 and 2006.19.1 Anonymous Gift, Bowers Museum General Acquisition Fund Purchase, Loan courtesy of Gayle and Edward P. Roski and Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Meyer Be...
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Death and the Ideal Man: New Ireland Tatanua Masks

Men wearing tatanua masks at a sing-sing in Libba Village, New Hanover Island, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea. Taken during the Roski-Keller-Martin Expedition to the New Ireland Province in 2008. Acceptance When we think of masks in western culture, we most often think of tools used to disguise one’s identity. In most other cultures in the ...
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Shell to Pay: Boiken Wamayuwa and Weingga

Shell Currency ( Wamayuwa ), 19th Century Yangoru Boiken culture; Prince Alexander Mountains, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia Shell ( tridacna gigas ); 9 7/8 x 8 ¼ in. 2018.13.63 Gift of Anne and Long Shung Shih All the Money in the World The Bowers Blog has spent a great deal of time exploring currency in its myriad shapes and siz...
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Splash of Color: Massim Canoe Prow Boards

Splashboard ( Lagim ), 20th Century Massim culture; Trobriand Islands, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, Oceania Wood and paint; 32 5/8 x 25 5/8 x 2 5/8 in. 2011.11.2 Collected on behalf of the Bowers Museum by the Roski-Keller-Martin Expeditions 2000-2008 Art of the Deal When it comes to making deals, everyone wants a leg up on the ...
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Fibers of History: Tongan Tapa Cloths

Detail of Tapa Cloth ( Ngatu ), 20th Century Tongan culture; Tonga, Polynesia Pounded tree bark and pigment; 78 x 152 in. 93.18.1 Donated by Jeff and Laura Blackie Cloth With a Bark Tapa cloth, a barkcloth made from the inner bark of trees, is one of the most distinctive products made by the cultures of the Pacific Islands and remains at the heart ...
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The Clay Day of Papuan Vessels

Ceremonial Vessel ( Kwam ), 19th to 20th Century Abelam culture; Wambisa Village, Maprik District, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia Clay, red, white and orange ochre; 3 ¼ x 9 3/8 x 7 3/8 in. 2018.7.16 Gift of Michael Hamson Vessel Variety Perhaps above all else, Papua New Guinea is best-known for its variety. As many as 850 language...
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Blade with a Bite: The Shark Tooth Swords of the Gilbert Islands

Club Sword ( Te Toanea ), mid 19th Century I-Kiribati culture; Gilbert Islands, Republic of Kiribati, Micronesia Wood, shark teeth, fiber, tapa and human hair; 34 1/2in. 2018.9.1 Gift of Mark Blackburn Whirling Dervish Barring the outlandish Sharknado franchise, when we hear the phrase “shark attack,” the assumption is that we would have to be in t...
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Moana Materials: Polynesian Art in Disney’s Moana

Tapa Cloth ( Ngata ), 20th Century Tongan culture; Tonga, Polynesia Pounded tree bark and pigment; 78 x 152 in. 93.18.1 Donated by Jeff and Laura Blackie Trip to Motunui When Walt Disney Animation Studios released Moana (2016) to a tidal wave of good reviews, the Bowers Museum was overjoyed to see Polynesian culture and art achieve broad recognitio...
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Yam Digging Sticks of the Abelam

Digging Sticks, 20th Century Abelam culture; East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia Wood and paint 99.76.141; 2011.13.4; 97.138.1; and 2015.7.2 Anonymous Gift; Bowers Museum Purchase; Anonymous Gift; and Gift of Mr. Michael Hamson Induction In the United States we understand competition all too well. We compete with neighbors over having ...
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Hawaiian Lei Niho Palaoa

Necklace ( Lei Niho Palaoa ), early 19th Century Hawaiian culture; Hawaii, United States, Polynesia Hair, fiber and walrus ivory; 11 1/4 x 7 7/8 x 2 1/2 in. 2018.5.1 Bowers Museum Purchase Photograph courtesy of Bonhams A New Acquisition When it comes to Hawaiian necklaces, the subject can be a somewhat hairy one, though perhaps not for the reasons...
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The Niue Club in Town

Cleaving Club ( Ula-fumiti ), early to mid 19th Century Niuean culture; Niue Island, Polynesia Wood; 68 7/8 x 5 x 1 ¼ in. 2018.4.1 Bowers Museum Purchase Behold the Cook-o-nut Captain Cook was the first European to travel to Niue, a small island in the middle of Polynesia, when he landed ashore late in the spring of 1774. His welcome to the small t...
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Kept in Suspense: The Samban of the Iatmul

Suspension Hook (Samban), c. 1930 Iatmul culture; Suapmeri Village, Middle Sepik River region, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, Oceania Wood and pigment; 25 1/4 × 14 1/2 × 4 in. 2017.1.1 Bowers Museum Purchase Whoa Black Betty, Tshambwan Save perhaps for weekend trips to big box Swedish furniture stores, we generally do not spend m...
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Grand Admiralty Island Feast Bowl

Feast Bowl, late 19th Century Matankol culture; Lou Island, Admiralty Islands, Manus Province, Bismarck Archipelago, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia Wood and parinarium nut paste; 24 ½ x 54 ½ x 41 in. 2018.1.1 Bowers Museum Purchase Homes on the neighboring M'Buke Island. Photograph by Peter Keller, 2006. King of Bowls Of the many types of wooden bowl ...
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Kava Drink: Fijian Yaqona Bowls and Dishes

Yaqona Bowl ( Tanoa ), late 19th to early 20th Century Fiji, Polynesia Wood; 7 1/2 x 22 7/16 x 21 in. 99.43.7 Donated by Rear Admiral Ralph and Sara Garrison Kava Chameleon Within the last few decades, kava has found its way into the American social scene as a niche alternative to alcohol in being both a mild relaxant and an avenue to potential liv...
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Shields of Mendi Valley

Shields ( Wörrumbi ), 2 0 th Century Mendi culture; Southern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia Wood, pigments and fiber; Various Dimensions 2017.10.163, 2003.43.3, 2017.10.143 Anonymous Gift On the Mendi In an early 20 th Century effort to pacify Papua New Guinea, Australian colonial administrators began a campaign of suppressing trib...
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Tami Feast Bowls and Yam-ey Thanksgivings

Feast Bowl, 20th Century Cape Gloucester, West New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia Wood and pigment; 9 × 44 1/2 × 25 1/4 in. 2014.15.14 Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Danny and Anne Shih Bird is the Word Thanksgiving is now upon us. Even in its earliest rendition, it was a celebration of thanks through the sharing of food with friends, family, ...
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Fijian Kiakavo Dance Clubs

Dance Clubs ( Kiakavo ), 19th Century Fiji, Polynesia Wood, fiber and pigment 97.138.13, .17, and 2015.17.10 Anonymous Gift and The George Stanley Lodin Collection Two late 19th Century  Fijian men hold clubs across their laps for a staged photograph. Bowers Museum Collection Gift of Mr. E. Morgan Stanley Fijian Club Scene Up until and in...
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Perfect Rings: Dimbo of Cenderawasih Bay

Glass Earrings ( Dimbo ), 19 th Century Waropen culture; Cenderawasih (Geelvink) Bay, Papua Province, Indonesia, Melanesia Glass 2017.8.1-.5 Bowers Museum Purchase Though we may think of it now as an isolated, inaccessible part of the world, New Guinea has always been rich in organic and mineral resources; the peoples of its coasts welcome partners...
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Shark Caller's Tools

Shark Caller's Tools, 20th century Kontu culture, Island of New Ireland, Papua New Guinea Wood, reed, bamboo, coconut and paint  2002.65.1.1-.3 Bowers Museum Purchase courtesy of the Trude Jordan Fund The Kontu people of the Island of New Ireland, Papua New Guinea use ritual customs to capture and kill sharks. Shark Callers believe that ancest...
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