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Brooklyn Museum: Life, Death, and Transformation in the Americas

Brooklyn Museum

https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/

200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Brooklyn Museum Life Death and Transformation in the Americas

Life, Death, and Transformation in the Americas presents over one hundred masterpieces from the museum’s permanent Arts of the Americas collection, exemplifying the concept of transformation as part of the spiritual beliefs and practice of the region’s indigenous peoples, past and present. Themes of life, death, fertility, and regeneration are explored through pre-Columbian and historical artworks, including many pieces that are rarely on display.

Highlights include the Huastec Life-Death Figure, the Kwakwaka’wakw Thunderbird Transformation Mask, and two eight-foot-tall, nineteenth-century Heiltsuk House Posts made to support the huge beams of a great Northwest Coast plank house. Other featured objects include Hopi and Zuni kachinas, masks from throughout the Americas, Mexica (Aztec) and Maya sculptures, and ancient Andean textiles including the two-thousand-year-old Paracas Textile, which illustrates the way in which early cultures of Peru’s South Coast envisioned their relationship with nature and the supernatural realm.

Among the twenty-one objects that have rarely or never been on public view are a full-body bark-cloth mask made by the Pami’wa of Colombia and Brazil, a Maya effigy vessel in the form of a hunchback wearing a jaguar skin, and two contemporary kachinas by Hopi carver Henry Shelton.

Life, Death, and Transformation in the Americas is organized by Nancy Rosoff, Andrew W. Mellon Curator, Arts of the Americas, Brooklyn Museum; and Susan Kennedy Zeller, Associate Curator, Native American Art, Brooklyn Museum. —Brooklyn Museum

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Brooklyn Museum Life Death and Transformation in the Americas

Mimbres artist(s). Stone Effigies, 1000-1100 B.C.E. Sanders, Arizona, United States. Stone, pigment. Museum Expedition 1903, Museum Collection Fund.

Brooklyn Museum Life Death and Transformation in the Americas

Pam’wa artist. Dance Mask (Taku), 20th century. Colombia or Brazil. Bark cloth, wood, pigments. Frank L. Babbott Fund.

Brooklyn Museum Life Death and Transformation in the Americas

Nasca artists. Mantle, known as the Paracas Textile, 100-300. Peru. Cotton, camelid fiber, 241/2 x 581/4 in. (62.2 x 148 cm). Brooklyn Museum, John Thomas Underwood Memorial Fund.

Brooklyn Museum Life Death and Transformation in the Americas

Heiltsuk artist. House Post, from a Set of Four, 19th century. Waglisla, British Columbia, Canada. Cedar, 98 x 35 1/4 x 17 1/2 in. (248.9 x 89.5 x 44.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1911, Museum Collection Fund.

Brooklyn Museum Life Death and Transformation in the Americas

Heiltsuk artist. Ladle with Skull, 19th century. Waglasla, British Columbia, Canada. Cedar wood, bear fur, cord, pigment, 29 x 8 3/4 x 9 5/16 in. (73.7 x 22.2 x 23.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1905, Museum Collection Fund.

Cover photo: Huastec artist. Life-Death Figure, 900-€“1250. Possibly found at the site of Chilituja near San Vicente Tancuayalab, San Luis Potosí, Mexico. Sandstone, traces of pigment, 62 3/8 x 26 x 11 1/„2 in. (158.4 x— 66 x 29.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Frank Sherman Benson Fund and the Henry L. Batterman Fund.

 


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