29 June 2010

Fine early aboriginal and oceanic art auction

Place: Tea House, Royal Randwick Racecourse, Alison Road, Randwick, Sydney, Australia
Preview: 27h and 28th August from 11am to 5pm and 29th August from 11am to 4.30pm
Catalogue: online catalogue
About Mossgreen Auctions:
Mossgreen Auctions specialises in single owner auctions for collections covering fine art and antiques. Services include auctions held in our stylish multi-level building at 310 Toorak Road South Yarra, to on-site auctions at the owner’s property or staged events in hired premises tailored to suit the collection.
With nearly 25 years auction experience with International and Australian auction houses, Mossgreen Auctions director Paul Sumner is available to advise and personally manage the sale of your collection.
We offer realistic vendor terms and personalised and imaginative marketing strategies that ensure the very best results.
Auction statistics prove that collections often fetch much higher prices when kept together as a collection.
Mossgreen Auctions has handled many of the most significant single-owner collections in recent years including:
The Ray Mitchell and Julian Sterling auction in February 2007 where the sale total was an Australian record for any antiques auction at 4.4 million against a pre-sale estimated total of 2.1 million.
The company holds many individual Australian art auction records, including the highest price for any living Australian artist-John Olsen’s “Love in the kitchen”- 1969, sold for $1.089 million and the auction record for Australia’s most acclaimed artist- Sir Sidney Nolan, when the company sold- Kelly Outlaw 1955 for $1.45 million
Mossgreen Auctions has averaged in excess of 90% sold by lot and well over 120% by value, averaged out over all of its single owner auctions. These statistics are well beyond the accepted market averages of 70-80% for other auctions.
If you are looking to sell a collection,then prior to breaking up the collection elsewhere, consult the name you can trust- Mossgreen.
Mossgreen also holds two important multi-vendor Australian art auctions per year, two Fine antiques and jewellery auctions, and one Important Asian Art auction per year. These auctions offer superbly presented and fully researched catalogues coupled with imaginative marketing and the same personalised approach that is the company’s signature.
‘Interior Decorator’ Auctions are held every two months at the company’s secondary auction location- 94 High street Prahran. These sales encompass the mid- value and collectors markets and cover all fields from antiques to quality contemporary furnishings, as well as Asian art, jewellery and Australian and International art.

27 June 2010

The Duduk and its Music

© Samvel Amirkhanyan
An Armenian oboe, the Duduk accompanies popular songs and dances and is played at social events such as weddings, anniversaries and funerals. The Armenian Duduk is distinctive in construction and performance technique and characterized by a warm and soft timbre.
The project aims to safeguard traditional duduk music in the difficult modern social, cultural and political context in Armenia. The main components of the project are: (i) training and transmission of skills and know-how; (ii) documentation and inventorying; and (iii) public awareness-raising. The planned activities include organizing master classes in a number of provincial schools, publishing a Practical manual for players, makers, and students of the duduk, compiling an Inventory of the Armenian Duduk Tradition and organizing open-air concerts. The project is intended to improve the context in which the main bearers of the tradition – the duduk players – evolve, and to give rise to a renewed interest in duduk music among the Armenian public.
Inscribed in 2008 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (originally proclaimed in 2005)
© Text: UNESCO

25 June 2010

The Burial of Emperor Haile Selassie - Photographs by Peter Marlow

The Burial of Emperor Haile Selassie: Photographs by Peter Marlow
22 April – 21 November 2010, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, United Kingdom

©Pitt-Rivers Museum
When Emperor Haile Selassie was finally buried in Addis Ababa in 2000, twenty-five years after his death, only a few European journalists were there to witness it. Renowned Magnum photographer Peter Marlow was among them. The 21 photographs in this exhibition document a remarkable event in recent Ethiopian history, one that provoked fresh debate about both Haile Selassie and Ethiopia’s troubled political history. Marlow’s photographs explore the tensions between royal, state and religious hierarchies that surrounded the ceremony, as well as more personal expressions of loyalty by some of the participants.

23 June 2010

Ndome kikuyu dance shield

Name: Ndome dance shield
Origin: Kikuyu people, Muranga, Fort Hall, Kenya, Africa
Date: Collected by J. G. Le Breton, Given to the Museum in 1933
Museum: Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, UK
This leaf-shaped, wooden dance shield is known as ndome and is used in boys’ coming-of-age ceremonies among the Kikuyu people of central Kenya. On the reverse (shown here on the right) it has an arm grip carved from the solid and is decorated with carved zigzag designs painted in red, black and white.
The rite of passage into adulthood for both boys and girls is important to Kikuyu culture. The initiations of both sexes are separate affairs but both involve circumcision and the use of shields. For boys, the ceremony is called Irua and takes place between the ages of fifteen and eighteen.
First, there are a number of dances. The boys wear the ndome shields during these dances to symbolise the adult warrior status they are about to acquire. The ring on the back of the shield is worn under the left armpit, so the shield itself stands high above the head of the dancer. After the dancing comes the surgical operation itself, performed at a special ritual location known as theIteri. To preserve their family honour, the boys are expected to undergo the operation in silence, without flinching. Several boys are circumcised at once and each new set of initiates (mwanake) is considered to be a distinct age set (rika). Each rika is given a group name and its members treat each other as brothers for life, and fight together in battle.
Undergoing Irua is attractive to Kikuyu boys for a number of reasons: An uncircumcised male (no matter how old) is prevented from owning possessions, socialising with adults, fighting as a warrior for the clan, marrying, or sleeping in the Thingira - a communal house for initiated young men where initiated young women are permitted to visit.
© Photos and text: Pitt Rivers Museum

21 June 2010

Brazilian Feijoada

Feijoada is a stew of beans with beef and pork, which is a typical Portuguese dish, also typical in Brazil, Angola and other former Portuguese colonies. In Brazil, feijoada is considered the national dish, which was brought to South America by the Portuguese, based in ancient Feijoada recipes from the Portuguese regions of Beira, Estremadura, and Trás-os-Montes.
The Brazilian feijoada is prepared with black turtle beans, with a variety of salted pork and beef products, such as salted pork trimmings (ears, tail, feet), bacon, smoked pork ribs, at least two types of smoked sausage and jerked beef (loin and tongue).
This stew is best prepared over slow fire in a thick clay pot. The final dish has the beans and meat pieces barely covered by a dark purplish-brown broth. The taste is strong, moderately salty but not spicy, dominated by the flavours of black bean and meat stew.
A popular myth states that the Brazilian feijoada was a "luxury" dish of African slaves on Brazilian colonial farms (engenhos), as it was prepared with relatively cheap ingredients (beans, rice, collard greens, farofa) and leftovers from salted pork and meat production. Over time, it first became a popular dish among lower classes, and finally the "national dish" of Brazil, offered even by the finest restaurants.
However, historians like Luís da Câmara Cascudo consider that feijoada is a Brazilian version of stews from Southern European countries like France (cassoulet), Spain, Italy and, of course, Portugal. Traditional Portuguese bean-and-pork dishes (cozidos) like those from the regions of Estremadura and Trás-os-Montes are the ancestors of Brazilian feijoada. The earliest printed references to the dish appeared in the mid-19th century, based on menus of upper-class, urban restaurants.

Feijoada Recipe
  • 4 1/4 lbs black beans 
  • 1 1/4 lbs dried beef 
  • 1 lb salt cured pork 
  • 1 lb bacon 
  • 1 lb smoked sausage 
  • 6 pieces dried sausage 
  • 1 piece smoked beef tongue 
  • 2 pigs ears 
  • 2 pigs tail (or equal amount of ox tail) 
  • 2 pigs trotters 
  • 1 large chopped onion 
  • 1 medium chopped onlion 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 6 cloves garlic 
  • 3 bay leaves 
  • oranges 
  • hot peppers 
  • rice, manioc, couscous or fried, shredded kale
How to cook it
Place beans and salted meats in separate bowls. Cover each with water. Keep covered with water for 24 hours; but change water every 6 hours. Put all of the ingredients into a very large cooking pan and cover with water. Add ½ orange, 3 bay leaves, 1 medium chopped onion and pepper. Cook everything over a low heat and gradually withdraw the meats as they are cooked to prevent them from becoming too soft. In a separate pan heat a tablespoon of soybean oil and fry the 6 cloves of garlic and the large chopped onion. Pour into the beans and mix well. Temporarily remove a cup of the beans and crush with a wooden spoon to thicken the sauce. Serve with white rice, manioc or fried, shredded kale along with hot peppers

© Text and image: Wikipedia / Recipe: www.world-recipes.info  

19 June 2010

The Emerald Forest

Title: The Emerald Forest
Director: John Boorman
Writer: Rospo Pallenberg
Year: 1985
Running time: 110 minutes
Unofficial webpage:  The Emerald Forest
Plot summary:
Bill Markham is an engineer who has moved to Brazil with his family to complete the construction of a large hydro-electric dam. The construction requires large areas of forest to be cleared, even more to be flooded. Its completion will bring more people to the areas who will clear the jungle for agriculture and living space.
Markham takes his family to the edge of the forest for a picnic to show them the jungle. It is then that an Indian from one of the indigenous tribes known as the Invisible People notices his son, Tommy, aged seven, has bright green eyes the colour of the forest. The tribesman decides that it is unfair to leave the child with these strange people, who, in his opinion, are destroying the world. He abducts the child. Markham pursues them, but his son is gone.
The story jumps ahead some ten years. The dam is nearing completion. Tommy, or Tommé as he is now called, has become part of the tribe that he lives with, adopting their language, culture and way of life. His father finds him but discovers that he is not the son he once had.
Tommé's tribe is later threatened by another, as well as by the near completion of the dam. Markham decides to help his son so that the way of life he has adopted is not destroyed.
Based on a true story.
The film was screened out of competition at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival.
© Text and image: Wikipedia

17 June 2010

The Nenets of Siberia

Name: Nenets (ненэця)
Living Area: Northern Siberia, Russia
Population: 41.302 (2002)
Language: Nenets
Due to a false etymology, the name Samoyed entered the Russian language as a corruption of the self-reference Saamod, Saamid (the Samoyedic suffix "-d" denotes plurality). In Russian ethnographic literature of the 19th century, they were also called "Самоядь", "Самодь", (samoyad', samod', samodijtsy, samodijskie narody) which was often transliterated into English as Samodi.
The literal morphs samo and yed in Russian convey the meaning "self-eater", which appears as derogatory. Therefore the name Samoyed quickly went out of usage in the 20th century, and the people bear the name of Nenets, which means "man".
When reading old Russian documents, it is necessary to keep in mind that the term Samoyed' was often applied indiscriminately to different peoples of Northern Siberia who speak related Uralic languages: Nenets, Nganasans, Enets, Selkups (speakers of Samoyedic languages). Currently, the term "Samoyedic peoples" applies to the whole group of different peoples. It is the general term which includes the Nenets, Enets, Selkup, and Nganasan peoples.
Nenets are just a part of the Samoyedic peoples. Sometimes their name is spelled as Nenet because of the erroneous assumption that the terminal 's' is for the plural number.
There are two distinct groups based on their economy: the Tundra Nenets (living far to the north) and the Khandeyar or Forest Nenets. The third group Kominized Nenets (Yaran people) has emerged as a result of intermarriages between Nenets and the Izhma tribe of the Komi peoples.
The Samoyedic languages form a branch of the Uralic language family, the other branch being the Finno-Ugric languages. It is of major importance for the basic comparison between the Uralic and Finno-Ugric languages. They moved (from farther south in Siberia) to the northernmost part of what later became Russia before the 12th century.
They ended up between the Kanin and Taymyr peninsulas, around the Ob and Yenisey rivers, with only a few of them settling into small communities like Kolva. Their main subsistence comes from hunting and reindeer herding. Using reindeer as a draft animal throughout the year enables to cover great distances. Large-scale reindeer herding emerged in the 18th century. Tundra wolves can be a source of considerable economic loss, as they prey on the reindeer herds which are the livelihood of some Nenets families. Alongside with reindeer meat, fish is a major component in the Nenets' diet.
They have a shamanistic and animistic belief system which stresses respect for the land and its resources. They had a clan-based social structure. The Nenets shaman is called a Tadibya.
After the Russian Revolution, their culture suffered due to Soviet collectivisation policy. The government of the Soviet Union tried to force the nomadic Samoyeds to become sedentary. They were forced to settle in villages and their children were educated in state boarding schools, which resulted in erosion of their cultural identity. Many, especially in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug lost their mother tongue and became assimilated. Since the 1930s, a few Nenets have come to express themselves through professionalized cultural media. For instance, Tyko Vylka and Konstantin Pankov became well-known painters. Anna Nerkagi is one of the most celebrated Nenets writers. Yuri Vella, though living as a reindeer herder, has become the first writer in the Forest.
Environmental damage is significant due to the industrialisation of their land. Because of the expansive gas and oil industry, the reindeer pastures are shrinking and overgrazing of certain areas in some regions (Yamal Peninsula) have further endangered the Nenets way of life.
Well-known by:
They bred the Samoyed dog to help herd their reindeer and pull their sleds, and European explorers later used those dogs for polar expeditions, because they have adapted so well to the arctic conditions.
Some words in Nenets language:   
hello: andorovo
thank you: nyarya bada
yes: nyeya
no: ya'ngo
au revoir: lakamboi
how are you?: khanzer" ilen

© Text and images: Wikipedia

15 June 2010

Songs, music and popular culture in Martinica

CEAO - Centro de Estudos Afro-Orientais

A palestra trata da recente emergência das canções, músicas e cultura popular afro-caribenha na Martinica. Com atenção para as narrativas, poesia e visão de mundo, a autora lança luzes sobre as experiências de mulheres afro-caribenhas numa pespectiva cross-cultural.

Palestrante: Profa. Dra. Brenda F. Berrian
Departamento de Estudos Africanos, Estudos sobre a Mulher e Letras da Universidade de Pittsburgh - USA

Profa. Dra. Florentina Souza – CEAO e PPGLL-UFBa
Secretária Estadual Luiza Bairros, SEPROMI

Data: 10 de agosto de 2010, terça-feira.
Horário: 18:30 hs
Local: CEAO - Pç. Inocêncio Galvão, 42, Largo Dois de Julho - CEP 40060-055. Salvador - Bahia Tel (71) 3283-5502/| E-mail: ceao@ufba.br

13 June 2010

The Tango

© Ministerio de Cultura, Buenos Aires
The Argentinian and Uruguayan tradition of the Tango, now familiar around the world, was developed by the urban lower classes in Buenos Aires and Montevideo in the Rio de la Plata basin. Among this mix of European immigrants to the region, descendents of African slaves and the natives of the region known as criollos, a wide range of customs, beliefs and rituals were merged and transformed into a distinctive cultural identity. As one of the most recognizable embodiments of that identity, the music, dance and poetry of tango both embodies and encourages diversity and cultural dialogue. It is practised in the traditional dance halls of Buenos Aires and Montevideo, spreading the spirit of its community across the globe even as it adapts to new environments and changing times. That community today includes musicians, professional and amateur dancers, choreographers, composers, songwriters, teachers of the art and the national living treasures who embody the culture of tango. Tango is also incorporated into celebrations of national heritage in Argentina and Uruguay, reflecting the widespread embrace of this popular urban music.
Inscribed in 2009 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
© Text: UNESCO

11 June 2010

Royal Spanish Botanic Expedition

Exhibition: Royal Spanish Botanic Expedition 
Dates: from 25th april 2010
Place: Museu Etnològic, Barcelona, Spain
Admission: 3,50 € (free every Sunday afternoon)
Barcelona’s Ethnologic Museum in its line of Latin American collections, presents an exhibition dedicated to Spanish botanist José Celestino Mutis.
José Celestino Mutis was an illustrated scientist and one of the firsts to study and divulge Columbian Flora. He worked as well for the Independency of the Viceroyalty of Nueva Granada or Gran Colombia, which comprised nowadays Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador.
He was the leader of the Royal Botanic Expedition to Nueva Granada (1783-1816). Most of he’s work is stored at the Real Jardín Botánico of Madrid. During his apprenticeship in this institution as botanist, he met renowned catalan naturalists like Josep Quer, Joan Minuart and Miquel Barnades. Later, once established in America, he even maintained correspondence with Carl Linné, and Linné’s son, also a botanist, dedicated him a Columbian plant (Mutisia clematis).
More about José Celestino Mutis:
José Celestino Mutis (Cádiz, Spain, April 6, 1732—Bogotá (now in Colombia), September 11, 1808) was a Spanish botanist and mathematician.
He began his medical studies at the College of Surgery in Cádiz, where he also studied physics, chemistry and botany. He graduated in medicine from the University of Seville on May 2, 1755.
On July 5, 1757 he received his doctorate in medicine. From 1757 to 1760 he was interim professor of anatomy in Madrid. During those same years he continued to study botany at the Migas Calientes Botanical Gardens (now the Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid), and also astronomy and mathematics.
After three years he decided to leave for America, as the private physician of the new viceroy of New Granada, Pedro Messía de la Cerda. He sailed on September 7, 1760, arriving at Santa Fe de Bogotá on February 24, 1761. During the long transatlantic passage he began writing his Diario de Observaciones, which he continued until 1791.
From his arrival in the Viceroyalty, Mutis concentrated on his botanical studies, beginning work on an herbal and investigating for chinchona, which was considered a panacea for the treatment of all kinds of diseases. He wrote El Arcano de la Quina.
Beginning in 1763, Mutis proposed to the king that he sponsor an expedition to study the flora and fauna of the region. He had to wait 20 years for the authorization, but in 1783 the king authorized his expedition (one of three royal botanical expeditions to the New World at about that time). In the interim, Mutis concentrated on commercial and mineralogical projects, not neglecting medicine. He also studied the social and economic conditions of the viceroyalty, and continued to expand his collection of flora and fauna. On December 19, 1772 he was ordained a priest. He was in regular correspondence with scientists in Spain and elsewhere in Europe, particularly Carl Linné.
Mutis led the Royal Botanical Expedition, established in 1783, for 25 years. It explored some 8,000 km² in a range of climates, using the Río Magdalena for access to the interior. He developed a meticulous methodology that included the harvesting of the samples in the field together with detailed descriptions, including data on the surroundings of each species and its utility. Hundreds of plants were discovered and described. More than 8,000 plates, plus maps, correspondence, notes and manuscripts were sent to Spain. His museum consisted of 24,000 dried plants, 5,000 drawings of plants by his pupils, and a collection of woods, shells, resins, minerals and skins. These treasures arrived safely at Madrid in 105 boxes, and the plants, manuscripts, and drawings were sent to the botanical gardens, where they were relegated to a tool-house.
However much of the work was wasted because the results remained unedited and unanalyzed. Also, the collation between the notes and the plates was lost during the transfer to Spain. His work on the species and varieties of chinchona had lasting influence.
He determined the longitude of Bogotá by the observation of an eclipse of a satellite of Jupiter and was a major influence on the construction of the National Astronomical Observatory.
In March 1762, at the inauguration of the chair of mathematics at the Colegio del Rosario, he expounded the principles of the Copernican system and of the experimental method of science, leading to a confrontation with the church. In 1774 he had to defend the teaching of the principles of Copernicus, as well as natural philosophy and modern, Newtonian physics and mathematics, before the Inquisition.
In 1784, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
Alexander von Humboldt visited Mutis in 1801, during his expedition to America. Humboldt stayed with Mutis for two months, and greatly admired his botanical collection.
Mutis died in Bogotá on September 11, 1808 at 76 years of age, a victim of apoplexy. Because much of his botanical work was lost or unpublished, he is known to history not as a great scientist, but as a great promoter of science and knowledge.
His image was used in the old banknotes of 2000 pesetas.

5 June 2010

The Gods Must be Crazy

Title: The Gods Must be Crazy
Director: Jamie Uys
Writer: Jamie Uys
Year: 1980
Running time: 109 minutes
Country: South-Africa
Plot summary:
The film is a collision of three separate stories—the journey of a Ju/'hoansi bushman to the end of the earth to get rid of a Coca-Cola bottle, the romance between a bumbling scientist and a schoolteacher, and a band of guerrillas on the run.
Xi and his band of San/Bushmen relatives are living well off the land in the Kalahari Desert. They are happy because the gods have provided plenty of everything, and no one in the tribe has unfulfilled wants. One day, a glass Coke bottle is thrown out of an aeroplane and falls to earth unbroken. Initially, this strange artifact seems to be another boon from the gods—-Xi's people find many uses for it. But unlike anything that they have had before, there is only one bottle to go around. This exposes the tribe to a hitherto unknown phenomenon, property, and they soon find themselves experiencing things they never had before: jealousy, envy, anger, hatred, even violence.
Since it has caused the band unhappiness on two occasions, Xi decides that the bottle is an evil thing and must be thrown off of the edge of the world. He sets out alone on his quest and encounters Western civilization for the first time. The film presents an interesting interpretation of civilization as viewed through Xi's perceptions.
There are also plot lines about shy biologist Andrew Steyn (Marius Weyers) who is studying the local animals (which, because of his nervousness around women, he once described as "manure-collecting"); the newly hired village school teacher, a former newspaper reporter named Kate Thompson (Sandra Prinsloo); and some guerrillas led by Sam Boga (Louw Verwey), who are being pursued by government troops after an unsuccessful attempt to massacre the Cabinet of the fictional African country of Burani. Also taking a share of the limelight is Steyn's Land Rover, dubbed the Antichrist (also "son of a mlakka") by his assistant and mechanic, M'pudi (Michael Thys), for its unreliability and constant need of repair. Also part of the chaos is a fresh safari tour guide named Jack Hind (Nic de Jager), who has designs on Thompson and would often steal Steyn's thunder.
Xi happens upon a farm and, being hungry as well as oblivious to the concept of ownership, shoots a goat with a tranquilizer arrow. For this he is arrested and jailed for stealing livestock. M'pudi, who lived with the bushmen for a long time, realizes that Xi will die in the alien environment of a prison cell. He and Steyn manage to hire Xi as a tracker for the 11 weeks of his prison sentence, with the help of M'pudi, who speaks Xi's language. Meanwhile, the guerrillas invade the school where Kate teaches and use her and her pupils as human shields for their escape by foot to the neighboring country. Steyn and Xi manage to immobilize the guerrillas as they are passing by and save Kate and the children. Steyn allows Xi to leave to continue his quest to the edge of the world.
Xi eventually finds himself at the top of a cliff with a solid layer of low-lying clouds obscuring the landscape below. This convinces Xi that he has reached the edge of the world, and he throws the bottle off the cliff. This scene was filmed at a place called God's Window in the then Eastern Transvaal, South Africa (now Mpumalanga). This is at the edge of the escarpment between the Highveld and Lowveld of South Africa. Xi then returns to his band and receives a warm welcome.
© Text and image: Wikipedia

1 June 2010

Les Gan du Burkina Faso

Activity: Book presentation
Title: Les Gan du Burkina Faso
Author: Daniela Bagnolo
Place: Fischbacher Art Books, 33 rue de Seine, Paris
Webpage: www.librairiefischbacher.fr
Pages: 176
Price: 35 €
Publisher: Fondation Culturelle Musée Barbier-Mueller
In March 2010 was presented the Barbier-Mueller Museum Cultural Foundation with the support of Vacheron Constantin to an audience of special guests and journalists gathered at the Primitive Art Museum on Quai Branly in Paris. The purpose of this foundation is to bear testimony to the forgotten peoples and little-known cultures, and to provide international support for anthropological observatory missions, publications and conferences.
This partnership has given rise to the noteworthy collection of “Métiers d’Art – Les Masques” watches, and expresses the brand’s attachment to the colourful tapestry of the human race, however diverse and remote. This project has already taken the form of sponsoring two studies.
The first one is already published and will be presented next saturday 9th of October at the Fischbacher library in Paris by its author, the italian anthropologist Daniela Bognolo a specialist on Burkina Faso, and deals with a “little-known ethic group”, the Gan.
The second, carried out by Alain-Michel Boyer among the Wan, Mona and Koyaga peoples of central Ivory Coast, should be released by the end of the year.