african masksEthnology-Vienna
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A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden

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Ethnology Vienna Austria

Museum für Völkerkunde (Museum of Ethnology)
A-1010 Wien - Neue Burg
Austria
Tel. + 43 1 534 30
Fax + 43 1 534 30 - 230

v*(at)ethno-museum.ac.a

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read also: African Art at the Museum fur Volkerkunde in Vienna
Salt cellar ethnology museum viennaSaltcellar. Sapi-Portuguese
Sierra Leone c.1490-1530
ivory   height: 24.3 cm

Africa south of the Sahara  

The Africa Department with an inventory of c. 37.000 objects comprises the most extensive collection of the house. About one half of the present stock reached the museum before 1927. The ethnographic exhibits cover Africa from the southern rim of the Sahara to the southern tip of the continent, from Christian Ethiopia in the east to Islamic Mauretania and Senegal in the west; the offshore island of Madagascar is also represented in the collection. Specimens of material culture document regal monarchic traditions like Benin, Kamerun or Kaffa down to hunters and gatherers such as the pigmies in the central African rain forest and the San in the South African Kalahari. The old valuable stock is now to be supplemented by focussing on present-day developments in popular African culture and art. Austrian research work in Africa will also be documented by including objects collected on such occasions.

 Valuable antiques are the Afro-Portuguese ivory carvings which date from Archduke Ferdinand II of Tyrol's "art cabinet" at Ambras Castle and which constitute the most ancient pieces of the collection. The Museum owns three saltcellars, carved horns and several 15th and 16th century spoons, performed in a very fragile technique.

The chalice-like lidded vessels were used as decorative saltcellars at the Renaissance courts in Europe. Manufactured in Africa as commission pieces they reflect European models. The difference lies in figurative additions, often based on European themes with biblical and heraldic motives.

Chief's hatChief's hat
Kerewe, Tanzania
bark cloth, glass beads, feathers, skin
Coll. Oscar Baumann
Acquired in 1893. Height: 35 cm

Apart from this antique nucleus the Museum owns important, partly quite unique ethnographic collections that had been gathered by early travellers through Africa. One of them was Oscar Baumann (1864-1899) who took part in the Austro-Hungarian Congo expedition at the end of the 19th cntury and who subsequently explored the German East African reservation. Through him the Museum possesses a vast ethnographic collection from Tanzania and the East African lake district.

Kamerun forms a regional focus with the compact collection by Rudolf and Helene Oldenburg, compiled between 1907 and 1913, which was supplemented by collections of the German geographer Hans Meyer and finally by recent purchases.

 Pearl-studded coronation chairs were used by the King (Fon) at ceremonial appearances in public. Pearl decorations were the prerogative of the sovereign; the possession of costly works of art was a sign of his prestige and power.

From the middle of the 20th century on the early collections of travellers were supplemented by systematic purchases and material documentations of researchwork. The extensive collection compiled by the former custodian Annemarie Schweeger-Hefel during her long years of exploratory fieldwork in Burkino Faso forms the nucleus of this addenda.

Royal throneRoyal throne Bamum, Kamerun
Double stelae masque Double stelae masque
Kurumba, Burkina Faso
Collected in 1965
wood, pigmentation
height: 79 cm

Masques were danced at funeral ceremonies. They are meant to embody gazelles and represent bush spirits. During their public appearances they were also offered sacrifices. .

Hofzwerg Benin Vienna

The Benin collection, acquired around the turn of the century, is also of great importance.

Benin figure bronze
height: 59.5 cm
end XVth- begin XVIth
coll. A. Maschmann, 1899
gift Fürt Johannes II - Lichtenstein.

James Cook Collection  

 

Among the most notable and most valuable exhibits of the Ethnological Museum are those artefacts that Captain James Cook acquired on his voyages to distant parts of the world. In many cases he and his people were the first Europeans to land on hitherto unknown islands of the Pacific Ocean and to collect information about the culture of their inhabitants.
Hanns Peter

On his search for the north-west passage James Cook explored the north-west coast of North America for several months in 1778.The objects he collected during his stay on land give information about the native cultures in the first phase of their contact with Europeans.

Some artefacts from the collection

 
Feathers have been knotted into a wickerwork made of plant fibre ropes. The eyes are mother-of-pearl slices into which tiny wooden balls have been inserted; the mouth is formed by two rows of dogs' teeth. The bust represents a Hawaiian god of war, kukailimoku. Bust of a feather god
Female figure Small figures from Tonga, carved from a whale tooth, are contained in several collections. They were worn a jewelry, maybe as amulets round the neck. The figure depicted here has been pierced in the back of the head and could have served the same purpose.

 

This mask is a male face, possibly representing death. Originally it seems to have had fur eyebrows and chin-beard stripes. The holes on the edge were pierced for the fixation of ropes (for hanging or wearing purposes).

 

Portrait mask
Thread woven blanket This unique piece represents the transition phase between cedar bast capes and the famous chilkat blankets. The design combines the traditional geometric style with the formline tradition in painting and carving.

 

read also: African Art at the Museum fur Volkerkunde in Vienna

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The Tribal Arts of Africa

The Tribal Arts of Africa
Author: Jean-Baptiste Bacquart

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read also : Start ] Virtual Museum ] African-Americans SF ] Chicago-ceramics ] Newark Museum ] Cleveland arms ] de Young-SF ] Museum of fine arts Boston ] Brooklyn Museum ] New Orleans Museum ] Detroit Institute DIA ] SAMA Artistry ] Museum for African Art ] Barbier-Mueller ] Cleveland ] Dallas-Museum-of-Arts ] Indianapolis ] Columbia-Urhobo ] NMAA Art-Treasures ] Baltimore-museum ] Dapper postcolonial ] Fine-arts-Houston ] Menil-Houston-Texas ] Louvres-Islamic art ] Minneapolis ] Metropolitan ] Israel Museum Jerusalem ] Orlando-Museum ] Cincinnati art museum ] Philadelphia-Museum ] Polk-Museum-of-Art ] african culture Portland ] Smithsonian-Washington ] SMA fathers New Jersey ] Tervueren ] UMKC-Belger Arts ] Whitman-New-Jersey ] West-Valley-Arizona ] Kunstkamera-Petersburg ] [ Ethnology-Vienna ] Irma-Stern-Museum ] Appleton museum Ocala ] UCLA-Fowler ] Benin Museum ] Weltkulture ] DuSable Museum ] Cuba museum ] fineartshouston ] Bowers museum ] Museu Afro Brazil ] airport art ] Nelson Atkins ] Zora Neale ] branly museum ] Longyear museum ] Douglas society Denver ] Denver art museum ] Centre Black African Civilization ] charles wright ] Seattle Art Museum ] Samuel Dorsky ] High museum Atlanta ]

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