Program

These lectures are free to follow by Zoom webinar. Registration is required.
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UNÛ – Prestigious African Weapons: timeless works of art

Bruno Claessens

UNÛ presents 106 exceptional prestige weapons in a luxurious publication celebrating the virtuosity of African blacksmiths. Carefully selected by Jacques Billen and Bruno Claessens, most of these knives, swords, and axes were never published before and among the best of their type. A most interesting addendum by Dominique Métral explores the Arabic inscriptions on Sudanese Mahdist arms, while Bruno Claessens explores the work of the Zande artist Songo. QR-codes in the inventory link to 3D presentations online of a selected group of weapons. UNÛ distances African weapons from their ethnographic and celebrates them as timeless works of Art in this sumptuous new must-have catalog.

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Adorned by Nature: Adornment, exchange & myth in the South Seas

Wolfgang Grulke

South Seas islanders had little access to metals or precious stones, so they crafted superlative and fabled adornments from nature. They created currencies and ground-breaking trading networks that nurtured relationships and redefined value.

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Asmat woodcarving and relations with ancestral spirits

Tom Powell Davies

Asmat woodcarving is widely collected and exhibited in museums. However, how Asmat people themselves think about carving is little understood. Tom Powell Davies presentation examines the role that carving plays in Asmat people’s lives, and in particular, how carving is used to navigate relations with ancestral spirits. He analyses how woodcarving’s aesthetic features are founded in Asmat understandings of how life itself is animated, and how carving is used as communicative tool to engage with otherwise non-visible spirits, which are experienced as determining the outcome of life events.

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Gods, Heroes and Guardians A short talk by author

Bruce W. Carpenter

In his latest book, Heroes, Gods and Guardians, Indonesian art expert, Bruce W. Carpenter analyzes an old and popular collectible, keris hilts and keris, from a new vantage point that above all views the handles a masterful historical examples of sculpture and objects d’art from around the Indonesian archipelago in contrast to historical collections, which have often taken a more ethnographic approach. Although relatively small in number, the collection also includes a significant proportion of rare forms and figurative hilts often in gold and silver that have often been overlooked in the past. The author has also sought to provide a historical framework for dating hilts and understanding the connections with other types of sculpture and the evolution of new variations as the result of society and cultural factors.

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