Harvard University's 1650 charter founded a multicultural educational setting when it committed the new institution "to the education of the English and Indian Youth of this Country in knowledge and godliness." The Harvard Yard Archaeology Project (HYAP) contributes to renewing that commitment.
Thursday, July 2, 2015 to Sunday, September 27, 2015
CGIS South, Japan Friends of Harvard Concourse, 1730 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA
From Artistry to Ethnography in Early Japanese Photographs
An exhibition of photographs in conjunction with the publication of The Journey of “A Good Type”: From Artistry to Ethnography in Early Japanese Photographs – David Odo, author and curator. Open weekdays 9:00 AM-5:00 PM.
Reception and book signing, Thursday, September 10, 4:15 p.m.
Sponsored by the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology at Harvard University, the Harvard University Asia Center, and the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies
Breaking the Silence examines a selection of photographs taken by the McClees Gallery and the Addis Studio in Washington, D.C., 1858–1867 of Native American delegates to the U.S. government. The exhibit explores the context for these visits, the identities of the individuals portrayed, and the use of this type of photography in fashioning an iconic image of the Native American, an image that persisted well into the twentieth-century and, in some ways, still survives.
The Berbers—or Imazighen—are the original inhabitants of North Africa. Since the dawn of history, speakers of the Berber language (Tamazight) have populated the vast territory from western Egypt to the Canary Islands and from the Mediterranean coast to the farthest reaches of the Sahara. Over the centuries these peoples were given many names. “Berber” comes from the Latin "barbarus", a term applied by the Romans to non-Latin-speaking peoples. Today many Berbers prefer to be called by tribal or regional names, or by the more general term Imazighen (singular, Amazigh), which means “free men” in the Berber language.
The Peabody Museum's collections from Berber North Africa came to the museum not as part of a systematic effort to create a "Berber collection" but as a result of various people's interests in North Africa and the Peabody Museum. The more than 450 pieces from Berber regions in Algeria and Morocco now housed at the museum were accquired by both travelers and Harvard-trained anthropologists. The majority of the objects were collected in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century, and many of them had been used in daily life before they were accquired by the eventual donor to the Peabody. In a way these are ordinary objects—blankets, clothing, storage vessels, utensils, bags—but they are also intricately decorated works of art that showcase the talents of individual craftsmen and craftswomen.
In all human societies, the head conveys social and cultural information about age and gender. In many African societies, adornments to the head also signal wealth, ethnicity, spiritual status, and official position. Because of the expressive power of the head, complex messages can be delivered by means of images rather than words.
The role of the tale-telling head in sub-Saharan Africa is considered in this exhibit using sculptures, masks, artifacts, jewelry, and photographs.
This exhibition, curated by Harvard University students, faculty, and staff, explores the uses of aerial and satellite imaging not only to examine ancient cities in the Middle East and South America, but also to view these sites in context, as systems or landscapes, in relation to other sites nearby. These images reveal the extent of Assyrian imperial irrigation in Iraq, forty-five-hundred-year-old track networks in northeastern Syria, and the transient passages of nomadic herders in Iran and Turkey.
Based on photographs donated to the Peabody Museum by Henry Field in 1953, this exhibit is a narrative of the expedition to the Marsh Arab lands and is refracted through the lenses of cameras and entries from Field’s memoir and publications. Although the images were primarily taken among the āl bu Moh'ammad, a large coalition of tribes in the southeastern part of al-H'awiza Marsh, this exhibit also shows a rare glimpse of the landscape and Arab tribes that dwelled in the marshlands during the 1930s, and records a culture that has essentially vanished because of recent political events. The photographs show expedition members collecting marsh samples and conducting an anthropometric survey of the people, thus providing an intimate view of physical anthropological fieldwork techniques in the 1930s.
Warfare and the weapons used to wage it have always been a part of the human experience. It is no surprise that weapons were carefully crafted and highly valued. Their failure during battle could mean death.
This exhibition is currently on display in the Peabody Museum galleries. This online presentation offers only a selection of the more than 100 items on view.
Nearly as universal as war itself has been the inclination to decorate the weapons of war. People through time and in nearly all cultures - rich and poor, leaders and followers, foragers in the most forbidding climates on the planet, and kings of the world’s great civilizations - have painstakingly embellished their weapons. We may marvel at their splendor in startling contrast to their deadly purpose, and we may wonder why we have always felt so compelled to transform implements of war into objects of surprising beauty.
Photographs capture an instant in an image, but the meaning the viewer takes from that image is not fixed. The photographs of Japanese people and scenes in this exhibition, for example, have transcended the intentions of the photographers, who created them as souvenirs for Japan’s first tourists. Foreigners poured into Japan following the end of the country’s more than 250 years of self-imposed isolation. Late 19th-century visitors were fascinated with Japanese culture—and enticed by such photographs.
These photographs were also collected by scientists, such as medical doctors, archaeologists, and anthropologists, who donated them to museums and other institutions, consequently changing the context for interpretation and meaning. This exhibition of photographs from the Peabody Museum’s collections examines the intersection of tourism and science in this new context.