The Lure of the Labret: Haida Masks and Dolls Made for the Souvenir Market

Cambridge, MA, Sept. 11, 2012 - In the 1820s American and British traders traveled to the Northwest Coast to procure sea otter pelts for the Chinese market. A secondary trade in ethnographic artifacts developed and Northwest Coast Indian artists created pieces specifically for sale to foreigners. Among the most extraordinary are a series of portrait masks and dolls made by a Haida master carver; two of each are in the collection of the Peabody Museum. Mary Malloy will introduce eleven masks and four dolls made by the same hand and depicting the same high-ranking Haida woman wearing a prominent labret in her lip.

The Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology at Harvard University presents the free lecture "The Lure of the Labret: Haida Masks and Dolls Made for the Souvenir Market" on Thursday, October 11, 2012 at the Geological Lecture Hall (24 Oxford St., Cambridge) at 6:00 PM. A reception will follow at the Peabody Museum (11 Divinity Avenue).

Mary Malloy is an Associate of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology. She also teaches in the Museum Studies program at Harvard and is Professor of Maritime Studies at the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole. She received a Ph.D. from Brown University and is the author of several books, including Souvenirs of the Fur Trade: Northwest Coast Indian Art and Artifacts Collected by American Mariners, and two novels.

About the Peabody Museum
The Peabody Museum is among the oldest archaeological and ethnographic museums in the world with one of the finest collections of human cultural history found anywhere. It is home to superb materials from Africa, ancient Europe, North America, Mesoamerica, Oceania, and South America in particular. In addition to its archaeological and ethnographic holdings, the Museum’s photographic archives, one of the largest of its kind, hold more than 500,000 historical photographs, dating from the mid-nineteenth century to the present and chronicling anthropology, archaeology, and world culture.

Hours and location: 9 A.M. to 5 P.M., seven days a week. The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, $8 for children, 3–18. Free with Harvard ID or Museum membership. The Museum is free to Massachusetts residents Sundays, 9 A.M. to noon, year round, and Wednesdays from 3 P.M. to 5 P.M. (September to May). Admission includes admission to the Harvard Museum of Natural History. For more information call 617-496-1027 or go online to: The Peabody Museum is located at 11 Divinity Avenue in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Museum is a short walk from the Harvard Square MBTA station.

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Media Contact:

Faith Sutter
Communications Coordinator
Peabody Museum
Tel: 617-495-3397


Haida mask with lip-distending labret, Northwest Coast. PM 38-81-20/5293.

High resolution image available on request.

"The Lure of the Labret: Haida Masks and Dolls Made for the Souvenir Market" is Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 6:00 pm at the Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge.

Mary Malloy, Associate of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology

A public reception follows at the Peabody Museum, 11 Divinity Ave., Cambridge.

Public information: 617-496-1027