Artifacts Archive

Balinese Shadow Puppet

Shadow puppet plays are popular throughout Indonesia. In Bali, leather puppets like this one, called wayang kulit, are used for both entertainment and sacred ritual. During nighttime performances, the puppets’ shadows are cast against a white cloth stretched on bamboo and lit by an oil lamp above the puppeteer’s head. Puppeteers, known as dalangs, prefer a […]

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Kalina Basket Sifter

This basket sifter is from Pikin Saron, an indigenous Kalina village in the north-central part of Suriname. The Kalina are also known as Carib or mainland Carib, but they call themselves Kalina.  They live in several countries along the northern coast of South America, with a population of about 3,000 in Suriname. Square baskets like […]

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Makonde Body Mask

The Makonde people live in southeast Tanzania, northern Mozambique, and Kenya.  This mask, known as a njorowe, is from Tanzania. Masks like this one are used in Makonde initiation rituals. During their initiation, boys are isolated for a period of several months during which they are circumcised and taught rules of adult behavior, expectations of […]

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Shahsevan Bedding Bag

This large woven bag was made around the turn of the 20th century by the Shahsevan people in Northwest Iran (then Persia). The Shahsevan are traditionally nomadic pastoralists, traveling between their winter home in the steppe and summer lands at higher elevation near Mount Sabalan. During the last century, many Shahsevan gave up the nomadic […]

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Solomon Islands Shell Plaques

The Solomon Islands are located east of New Guinea and consists of 6 larger islands and more than 900 smaller islands. These shell plaques, known as barava, are from Choiseul Island in the western Solomon Islands. Barava plaques are a national icon in the Solomon Islands, where they are symbols of wealth and prestige.  The […]

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Bamana Water Container

The Bamana people are the largest ethnic group in the country of Mali with a population of about 2 million people.  They are part of the Mande culture, and they have lived in the savannah in the west-central part of the country for hundreds of years. Bamana society’s strict hierarchy dictates that only the wives […]

Categories: Artifacts