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Objects of Power: Artistry of Weapons Across Cultures

June 4 – August 20, 2016

Friends and Colorado Galleries

Mangbetu Ceremonial Knife Papuan Gulf Skull Rack

The notion of power is illusive, relational, universal, and resides in areas of our everyday lives. Power has the capacity to bind, control, validate, and influence. Objects of Power: Artistry of Weapons Across Cultures explores different ideas of power by examining objects such as weapons, armor, ceremonial objects, and masks from the American West, Democratic Republic of Congo, Easter Island, Eurasian Steppes, Papua New Guinea and various areas of Africa.  While these objects embody many variations of uniqueness from cultures around the world, they also share common characteristics of warfare, rites of passage, and spiritual power – concepts that are universal across all cultures. Selected from the UW Art Museum collections, Objects of Power, examines how the idea of power is expressed and harnessed within objects though different cultural perspectives.


Mangbetu Ceremonial Knife (Mangbetu People, Zaire – nowDemocratic Rebulic of Congo), not dated, wood, pigment, and raffia cloth, 10 x 9 x 11-1/2 inches, on loan from the Finley Collection, T2011.12.91

Papuan Gulf Skull Rack (Papuan Gulf Region, Papua New Guinea), c. 1970s, wood and pigment, 38 x 15 x 1 inches, gift of The Salgo Trust for Education, 2011.6.7

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