Inside the Peabody Museum: May 2013

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New Exhibition: Papua New Guinea 

A Peabody Museum Favorite on View

Photographs by Zig Jackson (Rising Buffalo)

Coming up at the Peabody

New Exhibition: Stephen Dupont: Papua New Guinea Portraits and Diaries

Untitled Number 3 sing sing series at mt. hagen by stephen dupont

Untitled #3 Sing-Sing series at Mt. Hagen Show by Stephen Dupont.

Join award-winning photographer Stephen Dupont at the exhibition opening reception and book signing Thursday, May 2, 2013 at the Peabody Museum from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

As the Museum’s 2010 Robert Gardner Photography Fellow, Stephen Dupont explored the human condition. Through photographs and artist’s journals, he documented the Westernization of traditional society in Papua New Guinea, from lawlessness in urban Port Moresby to cultural struggles throughout the Highlands and Sepik River region. The exhibition is an in-depth study of cultural erosion as well as a celebration of an ancient people.

Stephen Dupont is an Australian photographer whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Time, and Rolling Stone, among other publications.

Learn more about Stephen Dupont and the Gardner Fellowship, and see a gallery of his Fellowship work.

 A Peabody Museum Favorite on View

 dog effigy

Left: dog effigy from Colima, Mexico. ca 300 BC-AD 400. PM 986-26-20/26151. Right: Dog figurine from Guerrero, Mexico. 20th century. PM 993-24-20/27576.

The little dog effigy on the left almost always gets a fond mention by William Fash, anthropology professor and former director of the Peabody Museum, when he escorts visitors through Museum storage. Lying on its back, all four legs bound, the dog is awaiting sacrifice after having consumed a quantity of corn beer.

Now it's on view through the summer as part of the teaching exhibit Tradition & Tourism: Rethinking Authenticity which explores notions of commercialism, craft, and culture change. Through woven Tlingit baskets and molded Mexican dogs, students critique the idea that indigenous authenticity lives in the past.

Back to the dog: it's an ancient hairless breed—a relative of the chihuahua and the Xoloitzcuintli or Mexican hairless dog—that played a significant role in myths, creation stories, and ritual sacrifice throughout prehistoric Latin America. This little ceramic canine is actually a vessel, created to serve a fermented drink during religious ceremonies; it had a practical as well as religious purpose. The effigy contrasts with the modern dog figurine on the right. The seated dog's hand-sculpted body and painted geometrical patterning demonstrate the stylized handicraft work of modern Mexican artisans.

The display was created by Professor Gary Urton’s class A97x: Sophomore Tutorial in Archaeology. For more information about the items in the display, please go to Peabody Museum Collections Online and browse: Teaching: A97x-S2013-TouristArt.

Photographs by Zig Jackson (Rising Buffalo) 

Photo by Zig Jackson (Rising Buffalo). PM 2007.0.29

Photo by Zig Jackson (Rising Buffalo). PM 2007.0.29

In 2007, the Museum purchased digital image files from Zig Jackson (Rising Buffalo), a prominent Native American photographer. Born in 1957, Jackson was raised on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota and is an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes (Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation).

"In the past, photographs in anthropological museum collections have been typically by western photographers of people from other cultures," says Associate Curator of Visual Anthropology Ilisa Barbash. "It is increasingly important that museums balance this by also collecting images by non-western photographers working in their own communities."

Jackson’s work deals with issues confronted by contemporary native nations — including tourism, land rights and sovereignty, and tribal traditions — and also documents reservation life across the US.

"Not all of his work is social commentary, although that is what he is best known for," adds Associate Curator of North American Ethnography Castle McLaughlin. "He also documents his own community at Fort Berthold in a straight-forward fashion."

See what's coming up in the Calendar of Events.


Anytime   Did you miss any lectures? You can listen to them here or download them to your mobile device through iTunes U. Look for Harvard's Peabody Museum lectures.

May 1 7:00-8:30 pm


Public Lecture

Sponsored by our friends at the Semitic Museum and the Harvard Near East Society

Insurgency and Resistance: Archaeological Exploration in the Egyptian Fortress of Jaffa 

Yenching Institute, 2 Divinity Ave.

May 2 5:00-7:00 pm

Exhibition Opening Reception and Book Signing

Stephen Dupont: Papua New Guinea Portraits and Diaries

May 5 2:00 pm

Family Program

Sponsored by our friends at the Harvard Museum of Natural History

Close Cousins

Discover our closest living relative, the chimpanzee with Harvard primatologist Zarin Machanda.


May 9 6:00 pm

Public Lecture

Foresight, Forecasting, and the Future in Ancient Mesopotamia
at the Yenching Institute, 2 Divinity Ave., Cambridge Francesca Rochberg, Catherine and William L. Magistretti Distinguished Professor of Near Eastern Studies, University of California, Berkeley. Co-sponsored by the Semitic Museum at Harvard University.

June 21 5:00-9:00 pm

Summer Solstice: Night at the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture

Celebrate the longest day of the year with live music, food, hands-on activities, and free admission to the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture (Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard Museum of Natural History, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, and the Semitic Museum).