Inside the Peabody Museum: January 2012

Special Performance Celebrates Chinese New Year: Monkey King Family Event

the laughing buddha, the monkey king, and the immortal

Left to right: The Laughing Buddha, the Monkey King, and the Immortal. Photo of the Laughing Buddha by Andrew Rotch, courtesy Behind the Mask Theatre.

WATCH VIDEOS about the Laughing Buddha and the Monkey King. Click the link above.

Puppets, masks, and storytelling will  mark the Chinese New Year on Saturday January 21. (Chinese New Year actually begins Monday, January 23.)

The Monkey King, the Laughing Buddha, and the Immortal, all beloved characters from Chinese mythology,  will celebrate the Chinese New Year in special collaborative performance with Behind the Mask Theatre and puppeteer Margaret Moody of Galapagos Puppets.

"The Monkey King is an ambiguous character," explains Moody. "Is he good or is he bad? It depends on where you stop the story." (Click the picture to watch a short video of Moody introducing the Monkey King and his special powers.)

The Laughing Buddha plays a very important role in the Chinese New Year. "Every Chinese person knows who Laughing Buddha is," says mask maker and performer Eric Bornstein of Behind the Mask Theatre. (Click the picture to watch a short video of Bornstein introducing the Laughing Buddha, and explaining why it's good luck to rub his belly.)

The Monkey King performance takes place at the Geological Lecture Hall (24 Oxford St., Cambridge).

Peabody Museum members $2, Non-members $5
Recommended for ages 5 and up accompanied by an adult

Tickets available online only Get $2 off Museum admissions the same day with your Monkey King tickets before or after the show.

Harvard Yard Archaeology Dig

Harvard Yard archaeology video

WATCH  three short Harvard Yard archaeology videos. Click the link above.

After digging through summer and much of the fall, this year’s Harvard Yard excavation came to a close on November 22. Staff and students persevered through rain and cold to excavate over 350 years of fill, landscaping, trash deposits, and yard surfaces.

“We found a widespread layer of pulverized brick that we believe represents the demolition of the brick Indian College in 1698,” says Dr. Patricia Capone, one of the Archaeology of Harvard Yard instructors. “We recovered many notable artifacts, including a seventeenth‐century spoon and colonial era coin.”

This season’s largest feature proved to be a massive stone box-shaped drain from the eighteenth or early nineteenth century. It was dug through lower levels, including what was once the yard surface around the Indian College (ca. 1655). You can find out more about that feature here in a Harvard Gazette article.

As part of the spring 20112 class, The Archaeology of Harvard Yard II, students will analyze their finds, prepare the artifacts for accession into the museum’s collections, and continue to advance our understanding of Harvard’s past.

New Acquisition: An Elder's Chair from Liberia

elder's chair, liberia

George Jaeger acquired this diminutive chair in 1958‐1960 while working as the Junior Economic Officer at the American Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia. He was told it was a “chief’s chair.”

During his time in Monrovia, Mr. Jaeger befriended George Harley, a medical missionary whose Liberian mask collection is one of the strengths of the Peabody’s African collection.

In addition to this chair, Mr. Jaeger donated a mask he received from Dr. Harley, as well as a massive bronze anklet, a small personal mask, a clay and feather effigy head, and photographs of similar effigy heads in a Wee village shrine.

-Genevieve Fisher, Peabody Museum Registrar and Amy Wolff Cay, Peabody Museum Assistant Registrar



Did you miss lectures in the Trash Talk: Anthropology of Waste series? You can listen to them here or download them to your mobile device through iTunes U. Look for Harvard's Peabody Museum lectures. More will be posted throughout the year.

January 21

2 pm


Family Event: Special Performance 

Monkey King (tickets available online only)

Geological Lecture Hall (24 Oxford St., Cambridge)

January 26

6 pm

 Trash Talk Lecture

"Stuff by the Yard: Campus Materials Management"
Robert Gogan, Manager, Recycling and Waste Services, Harvard  University