No Earthly Resin: Decorative Techniques of Chinese Lacquerware

Cinnabar Tabletop Incense Stand, Qianlong reign (1736-1795)ChinaWood, resin and pigments; 17 3/4 x 14 1/2 x 12 in. 2022.7.3Gift of Dr. Oliver Foo and Sheng Sheng Foo Medium of Great Import (and Export) In China, dating back into ancient times, lacquer was used to create a plastic-like decorative coating for objects made of wood, leather, and metal....

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Isaac Frazee and the Bohemian Life

Detail of Untitled, c. 1919Isaac Jenkinson Frazee (American, 1858-1942) after Edgar Alwin Payne (American, 1883-1947)Oil pastel on wood; 12 x 9 in.30365Isaac J. Frazee Collection A Life of Service Of all the early settlers to Laguna Beach who helped turn a tiny community into a major colony for the arts, perhaps none of them is as complex a figure ...

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A Hinkle in Time: An Untitled Painting by Clarence Hinkle

Untitled, 1917Clarence Hinkle (American, 1880-1960); CaliforniaOil on board; 15 1/4 x 12 1/4 in.30361Isaac J. Frazee Collection California Painters Forever As the California Art Club’s 111th Annual Gold Medal Exhibition draws to a close at the Bowers Museum, the Bowers Blog takes the opportunity to feature California artists in the permanent collec...

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Knowing Korwar: Ancestor Figures from Cenderawasih Bay

Ancestor Figures (Korwar), 19th CenturyCenderawasih (Geelvink) Bay, West Papua Province, Indonesia, Melanesia Wood and mother-of-pearl F79.67.1, 85.24.1Gifts of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin R. Gamson and Dwight V. Strong Remembrance The way in which forebears are remembered differs all around the world. In most western cultures, the dead are buried or cremat...

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Resurrected Aloft: Processional Crosses of Ethiopia

Processional Crosses, 20th CenturyEthiopiaSilver alloy; Various dimensions2022.4.3-.5Gift of The David Poiry Trust Dancing to the Beat of Their Own Drum Christianity in Ethiopia is a product of almost two millennia of practice, isolation, and conflict. For much of the country’s history it has been isolated from other Christian countries, which has ...

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California Missions: Artistic and Architectural Legacy

San Juan Capistrano Mission, late 19th to early 20th CenturyUnknown Photographer; San Juan Capistrano, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 4 3/8 x 7 1/2 in.6867Gift of Terry Elmo Stephenson, Jr. Breathing Life into the California Missions The Spanish missions have bestowed an undeniable legacy of art and architecture upon California. However, without art...

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California Missions: Tools of Spanish Colonization

Mission San Luis Rey, 1895Unknown Photographer; San Luis Rey, CaliforniaPrinted paper; 6 x 8 in.19495Gift of Harrie H. Teaboldt A Dual History of the California Missions The 21 California missions have a dual history. They once served as tools of the Spanish government to colonize California, resulting in the decimation of Indigenous lives and cult...

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Jean Goodwin Ames: The Space Between Tiles

Detail of The Old Blacksmith Shop, c. 1927Jean Goodwin Ames (American, 1903-1986); Santa Ana, CaliforniaOil on canvas; 24 x 28 in.1581Gift of the Artist Lost to Conciseness Biographies, especially succinct ones, are by nature reductionist, boiling down an entire human life into an easily digestible narrative. Take for example Anthony Heinsbergen, w...

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Old but Never Forgotten: Chinese Neolithic Pottery

Vessels, mid to late Neolithic period (5000-2050 BCE)Yangshao and Majiayao cultures; ChinaPainted ceramic90.5.64, 91.48.5, 97.119.1, 99.54.1, 2000.39.1Gifts of Patricia de Hoffman, Carroll and Susanne Barrymore, Mr. Lowell C. Martindale, Jr., and Linda Shih Yangshao Culture’s Significance The Yangshao culture, a neolithic Chinese society that lived...

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The George Stanley Lodin Collection

Circular Boar's Tusk, mid 19th to early 20th CenturyPapua New Guinea, MelanesiaBoar tusk; 4 1/4 x 4/12 x 1/2 in.2015.17.24The George Stanley Lodin Collection Artifacts Like Parfait, With Layers Artifacts have layers and layers of stories. While not always told, the stories of previous owners, collectors and lenders are important components of an ar...

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Celadon and the Song: A Legacy

Chrysanthemum Petal Bowl, Song dynasty (960-1279)Longquan, Zhejiang Province, ChinaGlazed ceramic; 4 1/2 x 10 13/16 x 33 in.91.48.2Gift of Carroll and Susanne Barrymore A Song Masterpiece: Celadon The modern world has inherited an exceptional tradition from China’s Song dynasty (960-1279): celadon. Celadon is a term for green-glazed ceramic ware, e...

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Shields of Mendi Valley

Shields (Wörrumbi), 20th CenturyMendi culture; Southern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea, MelanesiaWood, pigments and fiber; Various Dimensions2017.10.163, 2003.43.3, 2017.10.143Anonymous Gift On the Mendi In an early 20th Century effort to pacify Papua New Guinea, Australian colonial administrators began a campaign of suppressing tribal warfar...

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The Strenuous Life: Teddy Roosevelt and Santa Ana High

Detail of The Strenuous Life Playbill, June 23, 1909Hickox Photo; Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print81.11.20DGift of Mrs. D.C. Edwards Life Well Toiled What does it mean to live a good life? For most it is connected to the idea of individual happiness, community connectedness, ethical decision-making, healthy eating or any one of an infinite n...

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Four Views of Walpi

Walpi, 1919Edward Borein (American, 1873 - 1945); Walpi, Navajo County, ArizonaDrypoint and etching; 8 × 13 5/8 in.2021.2.1Jim and Jeanne Pieper Collection Ash Hill Terrace Soaring high above the canyon floor of the Hopi Reservation in Arizona, Walpi has been the site of a mesa village since the 10th century. Like many Hopi villages, its perch offe...

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The Thing About Ding: Chinese Ritual Cauldrons Through the Ages

Cauldrons (Ding), Eastern Zhou to Han dynasty (770-221 BCE)ChinaCeramic and bronze91.48.4, 2005.11.1, and 2010.24.1a,bGift of Carroll and Susanne Barrymore, In Remembrance of Judy Owens, and Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles and Eileen Mohler Lukewarm Take Though often analyzed mostly through the lens of conquest and war, human history can just as easil...

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Bags of Wood, Bone, and Magic

Ritual Magic Bag with Pouch, mid 20th CenturyPapua New Guinea, Melanesia Palm fibers, bone, wood, beads, feathers and cowrie shell; 11 1/4 × 17 1/2 × 4 in.2017.10.66.1-.3Anonymous Gift Absolutely Enchanting Magic is something that almost everyone grows up with in one form or another: in simplest terms it is the attractive notion that individuals ha...

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Satsuma Ware: Japanese Ceramics of the Exposition Era

Vases and Teapot, 1868-1926JapanEarthenware (Satsuma ware), enamel and gold2012.23.1,.36,.47a,bGift of Bernyce Besso Fair is Not Fair In the late 19th and early 20th century the United States and European powers forced isolationist Asian nations like Japan to open to Western markets. The existing governments of the region reacted in vastly differen...

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Illuminating Nepalese Sukunda

Oil Lamp (Sukunda), early 19th CenturyNewar culture; Kathmandu Valley, NepalBrass; 16 1/2 × 7 × 16 in.2021.8.23Gift of Anne and Long Shung Shih There’s The Rub The human fear of darkness is without a doubt born of the unpleasantness of our ancestors being devoured in lonely, midnight recesses by animals that formerly held the title of ‘apex predato...

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Cinco de Mayo: Celebrating One of Orange County’s First Mexican Americans

Pío Pico's Carriage, 19th CenturyCaliforniaMetal, wood and leather; 57 3/4 × 57 1/2 × 132 in.3945Gift of Mrs. Thomas L. McFadden Shared Birthday Holidays, like all traditions, change over time; this is especially true of Cinco de Mayo. Its origin dates back to May 5, 1862 when a relatively small Mexican force repelled a much larger, better-equipped...

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May E. Schaetzel: Uncertainty and the Woods

Detail of Lost in the Wood, 1928May E. Schaetzel (American, 1870-1952); ParisGouache on paper; 26 1/4 x 20 3/4 in.31414Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jules Schaetzel Anticonfluentialism Uncertainty is the birthplace of anxiety, it is an ailment remedied only by omniscience, and in sufficiently high doses it is suffocating. But it is a boon too. All hope that...

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Harold Van Pelt: Life from Stone

Agate RhytonHarold Van Pelt (American, 1925-)Agate, gold and quartzL.2016.21.21a,bLoan courtesy of Harold and Erica Van Pelt Lapidarist Extraordinaire Tomorrow marks the fifth anniversary of the reopening of Gemstone Carvings: The Masterworks of Harold Van Pelt, an ongoing display of sculptural and functional carvings made by the Californian expert...

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Red Crush: Betel Nut and Associated Paraphernalia

Lime Spatulas, 20th CenturyMassim culture; Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea, MelanesiaWood, bone, shell, turtle shell, beads and pigments2006.12.1, 2015.7.15, 2017.10.94, 2017.10.114, L.2022.4.8Gift of Mr. Michael Hamson, Anonymous Gifts and Loans Social Chew-bricant Many travelers to Papua New Guinea are struck by the practice of chewing betel...

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Mortars and Marsupials: Prehistoric Stone Art of Melanesia

Ritual MortarSiassi Island, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea, MelanesiaStone; 6 5/8 × 19 × 15 in.2011.11.7Collected on behalf of the Bowers Museum by the Roski-Keller-Martin Expeditions 2000-2008 Neo-Prolific The earliest archeological evidence shows humans migrated to the world’s second largest island, Papua New Guinea, at least 50,000 years ago....

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Commodify: Your Favorite Paintings, Monetized

Three Spanish Figures (enhanced by Commodify®), c. 1915Charles Percy Austin (American, 1883-1948)Oil on canvas; 72 × 36 in.32195cGift of Mr. Ralph J. Steven End of an Era Lukewarm on the heels of last year’s announcement that the Bowers Museum is implementing Asinus Inc.’s groundbreaking EyinHance™ software, the Bowers Blog is excited to announce a...

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Prohibition on Flying: The Ungroundable “Wrong Way” Corrigan

Edited Campaign Poster for Douglas Corrigan, 1946American Way Committee and Majestic Poster Press; Inglewood, CaliforniaPaper and ink; 11 x 14 in.93.8.2Gift of Ms. Rosamond Markin St. Patrick’s Day Airshow A day most often paired with green beer, statistically improbable displays of four-leaf clovers, and desperate wishes that the pinch-happy among...

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Cheaper by the Thousand: Celebrating Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle

Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle, c. 1900Lou Page Hickox (American, 1874-1915); Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 7 x 4 3/8 in.31008AGift of Mrs. Alice Smith Continental Abode of Waffles This past Tuesday was International Women’s Day, a holiday falling during Women’s History Month which is dedicated to celebrating women and looking at the contribut...

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Laissez Les Bowers Art Rouler: Mardi Gras at the Museum

Detail of When King Carnival Reigns in the New Orleans Mardi Gras, La., 1924Keystone View Company (1862-1972); New Orleans, LouisianaPhotographic print; 3 3/8 x 7 x 1/2 in.83.22.63Gift of Mrs. Deirede Fairback Ironically Medieval Both the good times and the bad need to be punctuated with moments of celebration. Certainly, it is the case in many rel...

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The Ballad of Old Moccasin John: The Last Grizzly of Orange County

Trap Used to Snare Last Grizzly Bear of Orange County, 1865-1888Made by Sewell Newhouse; Oneida Community, New YorkSteel; 34 1/2 x 24 1/4 x 7 3/8 in.2433.1Gift of Mr. & Mrs. William B. Rochester Murder Most Grisly There is a reason that you hear a lot more about mountain lion attacks in the hills of Orange County than you do grizzly bear attack...

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Peak Perfection: Mountains in the Art of the Bowers

Sand and Trees, c. 1950Ralph Love (American, 1907-1992)Oil on canvas; 20 x 24 in.2010.5.1Vernon & Carolyn R. Cunningham Family Trust Saving the Everest for Last Just this week the Bowers Museum opened Everest: Ascent to Glory, an exhibition organized in collaboration with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and curated by the award-winnin...

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The Xth Olympiad Turns Ninety

Field and Seating Area of the Olympic Stadium, 1932Unknown Photographer; Los Angeles, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 4 1/4 x 2 3/4 in.32352A.1Gift of Lonnie Edward Thompson Beijing Olympics 2: Electric Boogaloo The 2022 Winter Olympics are set to open tomorrow, on February 4, 2022, featuring what promises to be yet another incredible display of athl...

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Beak Performance: Studying A Boiken Pottery Mask

Pottery Mask, early to mid 20th CenturyBoiken culture; East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea, MelanesiaCeramic; 7 1/4 × 7 1/2 × 5 in.2009.2.1Bowers Museum Purchase Plastic Art, Clay Medium Whereas sculptures and masks were carved from wood by many of the cultures of Papua New Guinea, non-utilitarian ceramics were a rarity for all but a handful of t...

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Treasures of the Scholar’s Desk

Scholar’s Desk, Ming Dynasty style (1368-1644)ChinaWoodL.2013.9.7Loan Courtesy of Anne and Long Shung Shih All Four What Through the past 2,000 years of Chinese intellectualism, Chinese scholars have been greatly respected for their dedication to the study of philosophy, classical literature, poetry, and the teachings of Confucius. A scholar’s area...

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Merry Modjeska: Happy New Year from the Bowers Blog

Detail of Photograph of Madame Modjeska, 1894Photographed by Jan W. Idzikowski; Chicago, IllinoisSepia-tone Photograph on Paper; 6 ½ x 4 ¼ in.30926a.2Gift of Percy and Tony Dickel Auld Lang Signs Madame Helena Modjeska wishes you all a Happy New Year from the Bowers Museum! Here she is above, regally dressed for the occasion. In this photograph, He...

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Christmas Greenings: A Brief History of the Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree Decorations, early to mid 20th CenturyUnknown Maker; EuropeCeramic and fabric; various dimensions75.22Gift Maxine A. Miller Tree for the Price of One The practice of bringing trees and outdoor greens into the household has been practiced for centuries during the winter season. The ancient Egyptians, Romans, Vikings, and Druids, for e...

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Gourd No More: A Wooden Hawaiian Calabash Bowl

Feast Bowl (Pakaka), 20th CenturyMolokai, Hawaii, PolynesiaKao wood; 5 7/8 x 12 x 12 1/2 in.2006.7.3Jordan Community Trust Purchase Molokai Made Dishes such as this one from Hawaii’s Molokai Island are called calabash bowls because their earliest antecedents were cut from gourds. The first Western visitors to the Hawaiian Islands documented the use...

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Hidden Visage: An Egyptian Mummy Cartonnage

Mummy Mask, 332 BCE-330 CE (late Ptolemaic to early Roman period)probably Faiyum Governorate, Egypt Linen, plaster, gold leaf and pigment; 15 × 12 3/4 × 10 1/2 in.2003.38.1Gift of Ramona Ward Trading Faces The earliest Egyptians to enjoy the ornate decorations and elaborate funerary rites of being mummified were royalty. It was believed that they a...

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Fog of Yore: Clouded Scenes of Days Gone By

Morning Mist, mid 20th CenturyJames Patrick (American, 1911 - 1944); CaliforniaWatercolor on paper; 14 × 17 1/2 in.2018.6.21Ann and Bill Cullen Memorial Collection Gloom Havens All those early morning commuters in the central Orange County area will know just how foggy it has been in recent days. While individuals may be split on whether being swad...

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A Streamlined Thanksgiving

Bowers Thanksgiving Showcase83.33.18a,b, 88.33.34, 359276.6-.7 and 32873.8-.9Gifts of Mr. & Mrs. Edgar L. Marchesini, Miss Muriel Anderson, and Dr. & Mrs. Emory S. Moore, Jr. #FoodMotivated Thanksgiving is on the record as being a day about giving thanks, but a quick analysis of the time your average American gives thanks on the holiday as ...

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In Gratitude: Veterans of the Bowers Collections

Armistice Day Parade, c. 1920Unknown photographer; Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 4 x 6 in.35223DGift of Mrs. Stella May Preble Nau Estate The Great War The worst war that the world had ever known ended on November 11th, 1918. Exactly a year later Woodrow Wilson led his countrymen in observing Armistice Day to honor the lasting peace that...

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Jungle Headhunters: Rewinding a Documentary on the Shuar

Composite formed from several objects in the Gift of Barbara Lackey Sense and Sensationalism Living in Ecuador along the headwaters of one of the major tributaries of the Amazon are the Shuar (Jivaro), a cultural group who have occupied roughly the same territory since at least the arrival of Europeans to the area. They are horticulturalists well-k...

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Jolting Jack-o’-Lanterns: Pumpkins of the Bowers

Doctored version of 81.11.25BGift of Mrs. D.C. Edwards Pumpkin Among Kin Though pumpkins take a great many autumnal forms—not the least of which are the delicious Thanksgiving staple of pumpkin pie or the PSLs (pumpkin spice lattes) first brewed in the corporate cauldrons of Starbucks—perhaps the most iconic are the carved pumpkins seen before and ...

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As She Sketched It: Artworks by and for Madame Modjeska

Portrait of Madam Helena Modjeska, 1883Wyatt Eaton (Canadian, 1849-1896)Charcoal on paper; 21 x 25 5/8 in.17261Gift of Marylka Modjeska Pattison Google It Those who let Google Doodles break their concentration long enough to investigate what they commemorate will know that this past Tuesday, October 12th was Madame Helena Modjeska’s 181st birthday....

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Modern Tradition: Nshak Skirts of the Kuba Culture

Skirts (Nshak), early to mid 20th CenturyKuba culture; Kuba Kingdom, Democratic Republic of the CongoRaffia, cotton thread and pigment2019.15.42,.44-.46Gift of Anne and Long Shung Shih Human Tapestry Donned by cultures across the globe, textiles of all kinds are a second skin, helping to define who we are as individuals. In English, one might say t...

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Staying on Tusk: Ivory in Ancient Arts of China

Carved Tusk, late Qing dynasty to Republic of China (1870-1949)ChinaIvory; 69 1/4 in.34475-34476Gift of Vernor G. and Edith P. Rich Relephant Information Ivory remains a hotly debated topic for museums. The rampant poaching of endangered elephants has rightfully led to international bans on the trade of ivory, but many museums around the world hous...

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Bats, Cats, and Hats: Qing Dynasty Children's Headwear

Children’s Festival Hat, Qing dynasty (1644-1912)ChinaCotton, silk and fiber; 11 x 10 in.2001.1.47Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Long Shung and Anne Shih Children of Many Hats Medicine and hygiene standards in rural China during the Qing dynasty (1644–1912) meant that many children did not live to see the end of their first 100 days. This tragedy w...

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Anthony Heinsbergen: Film Palace Forgotten

Collage of Anthony Heinsbergen (Dutch-born American, 1894-1981)  and various designs Let Bygones be Restored In the golden age of film, when cinemas were the vehicles of choice for transporting us to universes unknown, every city in the United States had at least one brilliant theater at its center. Though many have since been demolished, repu...

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Bottled Beauty: Snuff Containers of China

Snuff Bottles, 19th to 20th CenturyHan culture; ChinaVarious mediums97.11.52.1-.2, 97.11.65.1-.2, 98.56.14a,b, 98.56.27a,b, and 99.71.100.1-.2Gift of Dr. Murray and Brett Via No-Smoking Policy Tobacco was first brought to China around the turn of the 17th century.  Portuguese Jesuit missionaries entering the country to proselytize often brough...

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The Ann and Bill Cullen Collection: George Gibson

Detail of 2018.6.9Ann and Bill Cullen Memorial Collection Georges Paint Gorgeous Gorges Posts about artists in the Ann and Bill Cullen Collection have come in staggered bursts since the bequest was first received back in the late summer of 2018, but we once again find ourselves with a suitable cause to look at this donation as an exhibition dedicat...

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Gong With the Woodwind: Instruments of China and Southeast Asia

Detail of Gong (Kyizi), 19th to 20th CenturyMyanmarBrass; 8 1/8 × 12 1/2 × 3/4 in.2020.14.19Gift of Anne and Long Shung Shih Melodies of Late Summer Like the visual arts, there is a universality to music that is only affected by a handful of factors. Just as a culture’s paintings are influenced by the brushes they use; their music is a product of t...

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Little Hands Waving Farewell

Women Riding a Horse on the Steps of a Building, 1960-1980Rene Laursen Photography (American); Irvine, California Photographic print; 10 x 8 in. 31704.138Gift of Mr. Rene Laursen The Ranking Time is an ocean and a river and a sun-dried puddle—there could always be more of it but most of the time we get by and appreciate what we’ve got. This week th...

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Months of Caesars

Roma, early 20th CenturyEttore Forti (Italian, 1880 – 1920)Oil on canvas; 25 1/2 x 45 in.F83.16.2Anonymous Gift Augustus and Everything After Most know August as that sweltering month nestled between Fourth of July and Labor Day. Parents and students alike mark their August calendars as the month that school starts, a wonderful boon or tragic end o...

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Hands of the Past: Karawari Cave Art

Cave Figure (Aripa), 1600-1800Ewa culture; Karawari River area, Middle Sepik River region, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea, MelanesiaWood and paintF81.2.1-.3Bowers Museum Foundation Acquisition Fund Purchase Subterranean Features and Foibles Caves are notoriously dark, dank, cold, and dangerous—rife with pitfalls both literal and allegorical....

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The Gift of Los Angeles: Memories in Watercolor by Gayle Garner Roski

Gayle's Gift This past weekend the Bowers Museum opened the doors of The Gift of Los Angeles: Memories in Watercolor by Gayle Garner Roski, a retrospective exhibition celebrating the life of Gayle Garner Roski. As a holistic look at the wonderful LA artist’s relationship to the city she was born in and loved, an exploration of Gayle’s personal life...

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The Bonney Sketch Artist: Avoidant Glimpses of the Civil War

Rogers is So Sleepy, April 20, 1864William Henri Bonney (American, 1841-1867); Camp Nelson, KentuckyPencil on paper; 5 × 8 in.17450Gift of Mr. R. H. Hill Uncivil at Best Causes are just or unjust, but war is indisputably an awful thing for individuals. Fought over slavery and states’ rights, America’s Civil War was the bloodiest in the nation’s his...

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Around the World in a Model T: The Aloha Wanderwell Story

Captain Wanderwell Filming Seminole Women in Front of Car, 1921Unknown photographer; Miami, FloridaPhotograph; 3 1/4 x 4 3/8 in.95.24.1Gift of the Walter Baker Trust Tall Tale, 6” To Be Exact The best biographical stories are those that are so wonderfully implausible that it is impossible to tell if they are fabricated or just stranger than fiction...

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Unearthing the Night Sun: Jaguar Metate from Costa Rica

Metate in Form of a Jaguar with Repeating Parrot Motif, 4th-7th CenturyGuanacaste-Nicoya Zone;Costa RicaVolcanic stone; 12 3/8 x 11 5/8 x 30 1/4 in.97.40.1Dr. James Block Pick and Dr. Rosalyn M. Laudati Fund Purchase Food for the Soul A quick glance at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs—a food pyramid of sorts for mental sustenance—reveals that physical s...

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Welcome to Americana: Independence Day at the Bowers

Toile de Jouy Fabric Depicting America's Founding, 18th to 19th CenturyJouy-en-Josas, FrancePrinted linen; 21 x 21 in.7191a,bGift of Mrs. Thomas Walsh Independence Day Though every day is an opportunity to celebrate one’s patriotism, Independence Day is a special opportunity to enjoy things that truly are as American as apple pie. Given that the Un...

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New Acquisition: Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth

Horse Head Sculpture, late 18th to 19th CenturyTibetan culture; Tibet Autonomous Region, ChinaBronze and pigments; 13 1/4 × 2 1/8 × 5 1/8 in.2021.5.1Gift of Virginia Rooney Head Above the Rest The Tibet Autonomous Region, referred to here as Tibet, is nestled against the Himalayas in the southwest of China. Backed by the roof of the world, the spra...

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The Bowers Father-Watchers Handbook

J.M. Wyne with Daughter, c. 1918Unknown Photographer; Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 7 x 5 1/8 in.34843AGift of Mrs. Charles Snow Dad-ubon Society As Father’s Day again rolls around, this year the Bowers Blog attempts to offer a rare bit of insight into some of the more common variants of fathers endemic to North America. Rarely studied f...

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Eureka: Inventions of the Bowers Museum

The State Exclamation The 7th to 13th of June is Museum Week, an annual global event which celebrates museums. The different days of the week are marked with hashtags or themes through which museums can share their collections. Today’s is #EurekaMW, an opportunity to look at some innovations in our collections which may have prompted the maker to s...

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Carvings on a Half Shell: Coconut Artifacts of Oceania

Detail of 2017.10.39Anonymous Gift First There Was Orb If you have never taken that extra moment’s pause to ponder the nature of coconuts, consider this post an invitation to do just that. The palm-grown orbs are surprisingly versatile, and their appearance may just drupe you into thinking that they are something they are not. That is not a typo, c...

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The (Mostly) Complete Guide to the Bowers Museum’s Historic Courtyard

Maze Stone, date unknownTongva culture; Trabuco Canyon, Orange County, CaliforniaStone1936.1.1Bowers Museum Collection Show and Tell The Bowers Blog has, on several occasions, featured objects from our Margaret & Cleo Key Courtyard. Originally designed to complement the museum’s mission revival style aesthetic, over the years it has been a home...

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Walter Granville-Smith: Colorizing the Season

Detail of F7667Martha C. Stevens Memorial Art Collection Gloom and Bloom While the Bowers Blog tends to feature Southern Californian painters, there is a surprising variety of works by non-Californian artists in the museum’s collection. Searching our Fine Art Department for the dichotomous pairing of a gloomy and sunny painting—it seemed only appro...

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Ode to the Poets

36502, 91.26.293, 32211.10 and 1932.2.1Gifts of Mrs. Frank Hodge, Roy and Bentley Dillard and Bowers Museum Collection Author’s Note May 12 was National Limerick Day. It is a holiday which celebrates the birth of the limerick’s creator and titan of absurdity: Edward Lear. His banner creation is a short, often but not necessarily bawdy poem in anape...

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Brimming with Dance: Sombreros of the Bowers Museum

Sombreros, c. 1900Unknown Maker; MexicoFelt, cotton, straw, sequins and horsehairF78.44.3a,eBowers Museum Purchase Return of the FifthThough often confused as being a celebration of Mexican independence from Spain, Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) marks the victory of the Mexican army over a much larger colonial force from Napoleonic France. The holiday is ...

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The Ungilded Man: One of the First Oscars

Academy Award of Merit (Oscar), 1929California Bronze Foundry; Los Angeles, CaliforniaBronze; 11 3/4 x 5 1/4 in.76.30.15Gift of the Estate of Paula Nelli Premiere Time With the 93rd Academy Awards now behind us and an exciting historic win for Chloé Zhao as the first woman of color to receive an Oscar for Best Picture, one might wonder about the hi...

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Sonorous Spring: Birds of the Bowers

Detail of 86.47.10Gift of Junius & Angeline HolteDetail of Brocade Worn by Madame Modjeska (5002G)Gift of Myrtle Blakeslee Your First Carson It is a rare history of Earth Day that does not at some point mention Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Though the first day dedicated to restoring the environment—held on April 22, 1970—coalesced from m...

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Honestly Abeless: Remembering the 16th President of the United States

Emancipation Proclamation, 1865Augustus Hageboech (German-born American); Davenport, IowaLithograph on paper; 20 x 17 in.32744Gift of Mrs. Pearl Wall LangMary Lincoln Doll, late 19th to early 20th CenturyUnknown MakerCotton and papier-mâché37951Gift of Mrs. Lilian Norman GallyAbraham Lincoln Doll, mid 20th CenturyMuriel Bruyere; Los Angeles, Califo...

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Silver Blooms: Celestial Crowns of the Yao

Celestial Crowns, 20th CenturyYao culture; Yunnan Province, ChinaSilver, copper, zinc, cloth and hair2007.23.10, 2015.26.10.1-.2Gift of Anne and Long Shung Shih and Anonymous Gift Sweet Sixteen Different cultures around the world come of age at different times and mark that rite of passage in different ways. In the United States a sweet sixteen mig...

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Beauty in the Eye of the Beheld

Madame Modjeska in her Forest of Arden with EyinHance™ filter applied, 1916Frank Coburn (American, 1862-1938)Oil on wood panel; 20 3/4 x 25 3/4 in. 3821Gift of Frank Coburn Emperor’s New Eyes Every artist to have ever painted a portrait knows that if they fail to capture the sitter’s eyes, that they have failed in their task to capture the ess...

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Anne Shih: The Unresting Chair

Anne Shih posing in front of terracotta warriors, 2012 Heart of Gold This Women’s History Month the Bowers Blog has looked at some of the great women responsible for building up the Bowers Museum from scratch, instituting a modern system of record keeping for the Bowers’ permanent collection, and donating an incredible collection California scene p...

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The Ann Cullen Collection: The Woman Herself

Untitled Paintings, 1989-1992Ann Cullen (American, 1928 - 2018); CaliforniaWatercolor on paper2018.6.50-.51Ann and Bill Cullen Memorial Collection Renaissance Woman This Women’s History Month the Bowers Blog has focused on some of the great women that have been associated with the Bowers Museum. Today’s post looks at a donor and artist responsible ...

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Margaret Key: First Lady of the Bowers Museum

Photograph of Margaret Key, c. 1986 Successors As difficult as it is to start something from scratch, most will attest that picking up someone else’s work can be every bit as difficult. As we dive deeper into Women’s History Month, this second post in a series on the great women associated with the Bowers looks at Margaret Key who started at the mu...

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Bessie Beth Beginnings

Bessie Beth Coulter, c. 1927Unknown photographer; Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 6 7/8 × 5 in.32505.20Bowers Museum Collection An Object in Motion As any who have ever combatted inertia can attest—presumably all of us—it is far more difficult to start something than it is to keep it in motion. March is Women’s History Month, and this year...

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An Ox-spicious Moo Year Post

Detail of Untitled (Mexican Men with Ox Cart), early 20th CenturyClay Kelly (American, 1874-?); MexicoPencil on paper; 4 1/2 x 11 in.33317.31Gift of Mrs. Clay Kelly Legen-Dairy Creatures Earlier in this month the Bowers Museum celebrated the Chinese New Year with our Virtual Chinese New Year Festival for which we are having an encore showing t...

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Flora Batson: The Queen of Song

Detail of 37521Gift of Mr. Carl French Burns Santa Ana Stars Santa Ana has been home to many stars, and a venue for far more. For example, the city’s stages were graced in the late years of the 19th century by the presence of perhaps the best Shakespearean actress of her day, Poland’s Madame Helena Modjeska. However, in those days it would have bee...

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Bowers Bromances and Gal Pals: A Valentine’s Day Post

New Traditions Respectively popularized by the 2001-2010 hospital comedy Scrubs and a 2010 episode of Parks and Recreation, bromances—platonic love between two male friends—and the February 13th celebration of female friendships called Galentine’s Day are both relatively recent creations, but the sentiments which they represent date back to antiqui...

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Two Frontiers: The Sculpture of Ed Dwight

Eight is Enough, 1979Ed Dwight (American, 1933-); ColoradoBronze and wood; 17 1/2 x 25 x 21 1/2 in.81.83.1Gift of the Artist Outer Space to Creative Space Ed Dwight is a man who has worn many hats over his lifetime. Real estate and construction entrepreneur, restaurateur, engineer, marketing representative, Air Force test pilot, the first Black ast...

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Portrait of Eight: Framing Oceanic Cartes-de-Visite

New Zealand Council House, late 19th CenturyLouis Buderus; East St., Rockhampton, Queensland, AustraliaPhotographic print; 2 1/2 x 4 1/8 in.93.41.30Gift of Mr. E. Morgan Stanley Days Gone By Back in the days where proper business conduct involved handshakes rather than batting away all would-be violators of personal space with two yardsticks duct t...

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Fortune Favors the Talisman-Toting

Sculpture of Lord Ganesh, 18th CenturyIndiaWood and paint; 9 x 3 5/8 in.99.56.21 Gift of Mr. Michael Phillips Ushering In Yesterday’s inauguration came with a message that everyone in this country can get behind: unity. As the United States moves into a new chapter of combating pandemic, financial hardship, and racial inequality, we can all agree t...

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Portholes to Taiwan: Fifteen Traditionally Painted Chinese Scenes

Repel Evil and Bring Good Fortune, 2017Tang Jian-Feng (Taiwanese); probably TaiwanWatercolor on paper; 20 7/8 × 20 7/8 in.2020.11.4Gift of Jack J. Liang Getting Round Around the end of 2017, the Taiwanese artist Jack J. Liang reached out to seventeen of his contemporaries to create a series of eighteen watercolor on paper circular paintings each in...

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Test of Medal: End of Watch

Shaw in uniform, 1940s True Patriot What does it mean to be a patriot? Many of us may have been asking ourselves that and similar questions over the last day. On Veteran’s Day the Bowers Museum opened Test of Medal: Charles J. Shaw and the Montford Point Marines which tells the story of Charles J. Shaw, one of the first Blacks to join the United St...

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Toast to the Old Year: Drinking Vessels of the Bowers

Group of drinking vessels from the Bowers Museum2017.11.24, 97.50.48, 2019.7.5, and 83.32.20 Hindsight is 2020 No matter how you slice it, 2020 has been a year for the books. As we look back on 365 days fraught with natural disasters, a growing feeling of social unrest and a looming threat of pandemic, it is easy to only remember the bad. For many ...

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Gifts That Keep Giving: The Kula Trade Ring

Shell Currency (Mwali), late 20th CenturyMilne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea, MelanesiaConus shell, beads, shell, wood, fiber and rope; 13 3/4 × 12 × 3 1/2 in.2014.15.18Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Danny and Anne ShihExchange Necklace (Bagi), early to mid 20th CenturyRossel Island, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea, MelanesiaShell and twine; 20 × 2 1/4...

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Takes One to Snow One: Evylena Nunn Miller’s Oils of Japan in Winter

Winter in Mastumoto City, 1920-1922Evylena Nunn Miller (American, 1888-1966); Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, JapanOil on cardboard; 10 x 14 in.31804.12Evylena Nunn Miller Memorial Collection A Fifth Those of us looking out our windows in California may as well have forgotten that under the right cold-weather conditions, water can become snow, howeve...

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Treasures in Gold & Jade: Bowers Edition

Rare Mediums, Done Well Despite being closed to the public the Bowers Museum is excited to announce that this Saturday is the virtual opening of our long-awaited Treasures in Gold & Jade: Masterworks from Taiwan, featuring pieces from two artists: Wu Ching who creates gold casts from wood carvings and Huang Fu-shou who carves sculptures from ja...

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Test of Medal: Bar-B-Que Pit Stories

Charles J. Shaw II at the Bar-B-Que Pit, mid 20th Century Grilling the Kids Just before the Bowers Museum closed to the public, we opened Test of Medal: Charles J. Shaw and the Montford Point Marines, which tells the story of Charles J. Shaw II, the first Black Marine to train an integrated platoon of marines. Our last post in the series on his lif...

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Kernel of Thanksgiving: The Bowers Museum’s Corn-llections

Tustin's Peanut Cornucopia at the Parade of Products, 1905-1906Unknown photographer; Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 5 x 7 in.17429Gift of Mrs. Lucy Lockett Cornucopia Those of us who are familiar with the story of the Pilgrims’ arrival in Plymouth know that they would have perished in a harsh winter had it not been for the help of Tisquan...

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Cold-Press: Prints by Three Inuit Artists

Untitled (Woman with Two Changelings), 1962Pitseolak Ashoona (Inuit, 1904-1983); Cape Dorset, Nunavut Territory, CanadaEngraving on paper; 17 3/4 × 23 1/2 × 5/8 in.2013.8.6Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Burton W. Fink National Native American Heritage Month The rapid technological advances of the 20th century presented more change than any other in human his...

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Test of Medal: Charles J. Shaw and the Montford Point Marines

New exhibition on the life of Charles J. Shaw II, running from November 11, 2020 to January 10, 2021 Veteran’s Day Originally marking the armistice ending World War I, Veteran’s Day has become an annual reminder to thank all the brave men and women in the United States armed forces. The Bowers Museum has celebrated this Veteran’s Day with an exhibi...

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Kin and Kiln: Tafoya Black-on-Black Ware

Black-on-Black Ware Vessel, 1920-1930Unknown Artist; Santa Clara Pueblo, New MexicoCeramic and pigment; 11 x 9 in.F83.17.1Gift of Mrs. Geraldine Davis National Native American Heritage Month When we think about the beautiful pottery vessels of the Southwest, we most likely conjure the image of brilliantly colorful polychrome vessels. Of course, Nat...

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Take No Grave Image: Tombstones and Caskets of the Bowers’ Collections

 Gravestone of Charles and Ada Bowers at Fairhaven Memorial, some additional spookiness added for effect. All Hallows’ Eve While the Halloween spirit might be somewhat diminished in a year in which unmasked children coming to your door asking for candy are more frightening than a monster doing the same, it is even more important to take a brea...

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Song Swan Song: Three Taiwanese Scroll Painters

Scroll Paintings, c. 1930-1968Lin Yu-shan (Taiwanese, 1907-2004) and Chang Lee Tekhoe (Taiwanese, 1893-1972); TaiwanInk on paper2020.2.1,.3-.5Gift of Aloysius F. Kuo Good Things Come in Threes Aside from clues in their subject matter, many paintings do not immediately bely their geographical origin. Back in February of this year the Bowers Museum r...

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Preserved in Pottery: Ceramics of the Taíno

Vessel and Bowl, 1200-1500Taíno culture; Dominican RepublicCeramic99.20.3,.16Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Warren and Nancy Lampkin Indigenous Peoples’ Day Several months ago, the Bowers Blog looked at two Taíno woodcarvings in the Bowers Museum’s collections. In the post we discussed how the culture was the first group to greet Columbus’ expedition and how...

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Shared Likeness: Portraits of Don Bernardo Yorba

Portrait of Don Bernardo Yorba, c. 1850Henri Pénelon (French, 1827-1885)Oil on canvas, gilt frame; 24 ½ x 19 ¾ x 1 ¼ in.5070Gift of Mrs. Herman Locke and Bernardo Marcus Yorba, Jr. Lasting Legacy It is important to remember that especially in California the first Hispanic Americans did not immigrate to the country, but already lived here when Mexic...

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Seeing Double: Emigdio Vasquez’ Paintings at the Bowers

Detail of Untitled, 1992Emigdio Vasquez (American 1939-2014)Oil on Canvas; 48 x 68 in.2001.46.1Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Robert S. Barnes The Godfather National Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15th as a celebration of the cultures and contributions of Americans whose families came from Latin America and Spain. Ending on October 15, the mon...

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Heavy Reading: Mayan Glyphs in the Bowers’ Collections

Glyph Panel, probably Classic Period (250-900)Maya culture; Palenque, Chipas, MexicoCarved limestone; 45 1/2 x 23 in.2000.40.2The Dr. Eli B. and Aimee Cohen Memorial Collection Block Letters Even prior to Spanish colonization of the Americas, many of the ancient cities of the Maya had already been long since abandoned in favor of new metropolises. ...

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New Installation: Miao Masters of Silver

The Bowers Museum's new Miao Masters of Silver installation. Quarter of a Thousand Shining Moons The Bowers Museum is reopening its doors to the public this Saturday, September 12 with a brand-new installation in our East West Bank Gallery: Miao Masters of Silver. Due in large part to the generous support of Anne Shih, the Bowers owns perhaps the f...

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Coils and Swamp Oils: Baskets of the Emberá-Wounaan

Miniature Basket (Hösig Di), mid to late 20th CenturyEmberá or Wounaan culture; Darién Province, PanamaPalm fibers (astrocaryum standleyanum and carludovica palmata) and natural pigments; 2 x 3 3/8 x 3 3/8 in.2020.9.53Gift of Anne and Long Shung Shih Oh, What an Untangled Baskets They Weave Over the globe various basketry techniques are employed to...

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Potent Portables: History of Japan’s Netsuke

Group of Figural Netsuke, 20th CenturyJapanIvory and pigments88.31.280-.31Gift of City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks Obi One Clothing not having pockets is an annoyance that inevitably demands some creative solution; be it a purse, backpack, or fanny pack—the ultimate marriage of style and comfort in object toting. In Japan’s Ed...

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Anna Hills: Painter, Educator, Activist

Low Tide, c. 1920Anna Althea Hills (American, 1882-1930)Oil on canvas; 7 x 10 in.F7748Martha C. Stevens Memorial Art Collection Centennial August 18, 2020 marks one hundred years since the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified, giving most women in the United States the right to vote. In California, Proposition 4 of 1911 had alre...

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Chasing an Idyll: Helena Modjeska and Jozef Chelmonski

Formerly Sielanka (An Idyll), 1885Jozef Chelmonski (Polish, 1849-1914)Oil on canvas; 46 x 28 in.7601Gift of the Estate of Amadeus Gustavus Langenberger Stormy Weather Ahead This pastoral scene of two Polish peasants in a moment of repose is among the most iconic works in the Bowers Museum’s Fine Art Collection. Up to this point it has been known on...

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Orange County Beach Day

Picnic on the Beach, 1880-1899Newport Beach, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 5 3/4 x 6 3/4 in.6964BTerry E. Stephenson Collection Where We Would Rather Be It is the height of summer and though many of us would enjoy a typical beach day spent with friends or family, social distancing and other precautions taken for this year’s pandemic have thrown a w...

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Bite-Sized Bowers Miniatures

Miniature Painting and Easel, 20th CenturyPossibly Claire M. Doret (Swiss-born American, 1887-1982)Oil on canvas and wood; 6 x 4 in.99.36.33.1,.7Gift of Mrs. Katherine Hotchkiss Small World After All With some of the Bowers Museum’s most impressive objects unarguably being the largest, it can be all too easy to let smaller objects in the collection...

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Californian Still Life: Don Juan Forster’s Brandy Still

Brandy Still, c. 1776-1831Southern CaliforniaCopper; 53 x 36 in.2810Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John Forster Name Brandy The earliest brandies, used medicinally, appear to date back to 13th century France, but stories hold that the first commercial brandy was created, as many things are, almost completely by accident. In the 16th century a Dutch trader di...

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Guy Rose by Any Other Name Would Paint Just as Well

Detail of Marguerite, c. 1909Guy Rose (American, 1867-1925); FranceOil on canvas; 15 x 19 inF7693 Martha C. Stevens Memorial Art Collection Stemming from California In the 19th and 20th centuries the natural splendor of California made it a mecca for artists. Its coast a gem of glittering sapphire, golden sands rising to palisades, and sun in the s...

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Raising Flags: The Stars and Stripes of the Bowers

Quilt, c. 1920Maker unknown; United StatesCotton, fabric and flannel; 47 1/4 x 40 1/4 in.32147AGift of the Fredda Barger Estate Murky Territory Aside from the places we have traditionally seen the American flag since it was first introduced in 1777, it seems like every year it appears in more and more unexpected situations. In 2020 one is as likely...

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Taking Root and Stock: Naturally Formed Fijian Clubs

Rootstock Club (Vunikau), mid 19th CenturyFiji, MelanesiaWood; 46 x 3 1/2 x 3 3/8 in.2020.5.1Bowers Museum Purchase Hit Square with a Root The fundamentals of warfare are in large part the same across all cultures and all times: there is a point of contention and so the sides—whatever they might be—rally a force and attack an enemy with weapons. As...

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Illustrated Sports: OC History Edition

Santa Ana Rats, early 20th CenturyB.F. Conaway; Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic Print; 8 x 10 in.8484Bowers Museum Collection This One’s for You, Pop It is difficult to make any sort of overarching generalizations about fathers, but all the same most would agree that the fatherly gestalt is a sports fan. Whether it is abruptly yelling at a TV abo...

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Paper Monuments: Lithographs and Drawings of Francisco Zúñiga

Impresiones de Egipto, Plancha 6, 1982Francisco Zúñiga (Costa Rican-born Mexican, 1912-1998)Lithograph on Arches; 13 ¾ x 19 ¾ in.2016.5.13Anonymous Gift A Man of Many Renaissances Part of the incredible nature of art is the scope of what it depicts. From nonrepresentational paintings capturing feelings to photorealistic portraits, artists define th...

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Following Townsend to Abstraction

Turbulence, 1960sMildred Scott Townsend, American, (1897-1985)Mixed media on silk; 40 x 50 in.F80.40.5Gift of the Artist A Blur You can lose the forest for the trees, and sometimes it takes getting farther away from something to really be able to see it. Mildred Scott Townsend, an early and mid 20th century Californian painter likely understood thi...

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From Caverns Beneath the Earth: Two Taíno Carvings

Deity Figure (Zemí), 1100-1500Taino culture; Dominican RepublicWood; 13 3/8 x 5 3/4 x 6 1/4 in.2005.38.1Gift of Nancy Nicola and Warren Lampkin, In memory of Armand Labbe Far from Home Many of us were first taught about Columbus’ new sea route to the Americas in a fun limerick, but the fallen explorer’s time in the western hemisphere is problematic...

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Spring Spookfest: Creepy Objects from the Bowers

Prisoner of War Guillotine Model, 1770-1825Maker UnknownBone and pigment; 15 1/2 x 14 x 5 3/4 in. 2011.25.73Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Burton W. Fink Halloween in May With the very possible exception of May gray, there is not much particularly unsettling about the spring months. In fact, they are stalwartly reputed to be upstanding months by most definit...

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Ghana's Golden Age of Movie Posters 3: Triple Impact

New Killers in Town, 1996Jonas Golden Boy (Ghanaian)Oil on cotton canvas; 62 × 47 in.2014.28.30Gift of Jay and Helen Lavely Three is the Magic Number In a world where movie theaters are threatened by a global pandemic, one group offers a respite from the doldrums of home quarantine: Ghanaian poster painters. Three long years have passed since the h...

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Wayside Madonna by Edith Catlin Phelps

Detail of Wayside Madonna, 1939Edith Catlin Phelps (American, 1874-1961)Oil on canvas; 40 x 33 1/2 in.32158Gift of Mrs. Edith Catlin Phelps Wow, Upside-Down In today’s world, it is more important than ever to have someone that is always in your corner of the ring, pushing you forward and supporting you. So, let us talk about moms. They not only fit...

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Hand Solo: Armless Figures and Disembodied Hands of the Bowers

Artist's rendition of 2004.66.1.1-.2 and 31901 in dialogue in a futuristic setting. Man: The Lore (ian) This coming Monday marks yet another May the Fourth (be with you) on the Galactic Standard Calendar. While it might be an unremarkable day for the least nerdy of us, for those of us raised on Star Wars the date is as sacred as the Jedi texts. And...

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The Wachtel Watchers: The Earth in Plein Air

From Sunland Looking Across Valley to Big Tujunga, c. 1925Marion Kavanaugh Wachtel (American, 1875-1954)Watercolor on paper; 14 x 19 9/16 in.F7690Martha C. Stevens Memorial Art Collection This Little Planet Called Home April 22, 2020 marked the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day. Originally held as rallies and walks in major cities throughout ...

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The Tooth Tech’s Tiny Tut

Tut Replica, c. 1930Unknown PhotographerPhotographic print99.27.4Gift of Ms. Katherine Hotchkiss Little Mysteries Having been a collecting institution for almost the past 80 years, the Bowers Museum’s collections are, in some cases, rather eclectic. Whether it’s a wreath made from Victorian-era hair art, a Polynesian breadfruit pounder discovered i...

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Bowers in a Brush Stroke: Raúl Anguiano’s Untitled Mural

Untitled (Artworks of the Bowers Museum), 1999Raúl Anguiano (Mexican, 1915-2006)Oil on canvas; 101 1/2 x 183 1/2 x 1 1/2 in.99.63.1Gift of Bowers Museum Collectors Council Memory Palace If you have been missing the Bowers Museum as much as we have, then perhaps you too have been walking its halls in your imagination and picturing the placements of ...

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The Osborne Collection: Opening Ceremony Pt. 2

Frieda, Ellen and Carolyn performing at the opening of the Bai ra Nagsechel ar Cherchar, 1969Image courtesy of Frieda Wray Beginning of the End The electric opening of the Palau Museum’s Bai ra Nagsechel ar Cherchar was marked with dancing and music, but there is always more going on than meets the senses. In last week’s post the Bowers Blog explor...

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The Osborne Collection: Opening Ceremony Pt. 1

The Bai ra Ngesechel ar Cherchar shortly after being constructedImage courtesy of Frieda Wray Grand Opening Openings are extravagant affairs. If all goes to plan they only happen once, so to commemorate the moment there should be a grand party with musicians, speakers thanking all those involved and, most importantly, there should be a pair of comi...

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The Osborne Collection: Return to Palau

Bai Model, mid 20th CenturyPalau, MicronesiaWood; 5 1/4 × 3 × 11 3/4 in.2019.17.5Gift of Frieda O. Wray from the Estate of Dr. & Mrs. Douglas and Carolyn Osborne If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home by Now People can meet one another anywhere, but almost all cultures build specialized buildings in which community members can come together to discus...

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The Osborne Collection: To Begin, A Biography

Carolyn and Dr. Douglas Osborne, 1968 passport photographsImages courtesy of Frieda Wray Tolúk Back In a previous blog post we showcased two rare tolúk currency pieces from the Osborne Collection which originates from the island country of Palau in southwest Micronesia. Though the post focused more on the objects than their provenance, the donation...

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Doing it by the Brooks: A Foray into Modernist Jewelry

Necklace, 1964George Brooks (Czechoslovakian-born American, 1925-); Santa Barbara, CaliforniaSilver, 18 kt yellow gold, ebony and pearls2020.3.1Gift of Mr. George Brooks Jade Laden, Never Jaded Modernist jewelry exploded into popularity between the 1930s and 1960s as a counterculture movement to the highly organic Art Nouveau and rigid Art Deco sty...

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All Swords of Things: Five Decorative Short Swords from the Congo

Swords, 19th to 20th Century Ngombe or Poto culture; Democratic Republic of the CongoWood, leather, metal, fur and fiberF79.58.2, F80.49.26, F79.59.2, 2003.42.29 and 2013.12.3Gifts of Dr. and Mrs. Myron Klapper, Mr. and Mrs. Jon Herman, Dr. and Mrs. Iwao Kawakami, Susan Lerer and David Poiry Old Knives Tale Swords once played a vital role in warfar...

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The Tooled Trunk: A Leatherwork Chest from the Viceroyalty of Peru

Chest, 17th to 18th CenturyPeruLeather, wood and iron; 20 1/2 x 36 x 19 3/4 in.2020.1.1aGift of The Nesselrod Family Trunk Show Luggage is probably most on the mind when you’ve been told by an airline that it’s just barely oversized and that you’ll have to check it, but its history dates as far back as human migration. Longtime visitors to the Bowe...

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A Budai By Any Other Name Would be Just as Compassionate

Hotei Relaxing in a Field, mid to late 20th CenturyMaker Unknown; ChinaPainting on porcelain tile96.52.34Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Herb Hansen Lots of Loves Love is a fairly complex force that can (often insufficiently) be defined as an intense feeling of affection towards family; friends; a significant other; a childhood pet gerbil named Scruffy, rest ...

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Magamaog’s Lashed Logs: Yami Canoes of Orchid Island

Fishing Canoe (Taratara), 20th CenturyYami culture; Lanyu (Orchid) Island, TaiwanWood, paint and feather; 81 × 204 × 36 in. 97.8.1Gift of Leon Chen When a Gangway’s Raised a Porthole Opens While the hopes of the Bowers most nautically inclined visitors may be sunk following the departure of Arthur Beaumont: Art of the Sea this past weekend, rest as...

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William Wendt: Transcendentalist

Sycamores, 1918William Wendt (American, 1865-1946)Oil on canvas; 26 3/4 x 42 3/4 x 2 1/4 in.F7678Martha C. Stevens Memorial Art Collection Transcendental State of Mind The great transcendentalists had come and gone by the time the William Wendt first arrived in California with a brush in hand and love of nature in heart and began painting this gold...

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Carved Cushions: Headrests of New Guinea

Headrests, 20th CenturyNew Guinea, MelanesiaWood2019.22.23; 2015.7.11; 2018.14.37 and 2019.22.29Gifts of Mr. Michael Hamson and Anonymous Donor Island Dreams Barring Boris Karloff’s 1932 rendition of a mummy caught in eternal vertical slumber and perhaps a few other standing sleepers throughout history and literature, most of us sleep in a decidedl...

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Whatsits and Whatnots: Bowers Permanent Collection Oddballs

Detail of 2003.50.37Gift of William R. Moran  Weird and Just Downright Weird As part of an ongoing project to classify the Bowers Museum’s collections, our Collections team has reached many an oddball object that does not easily fall into standard categories. Many more have outlandish or wonderfully rare names. Today’s post is a celebration of...

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Visions of 2020: Eyeglasses of the Bowers Museum

Glasses, 18th to 20th CenturyVarious Manufacturers; North America and EuropeGlass, metal, plastic and tortoiseshell2000.8.13,.39,.80,.95.,113,.170,.176,.225,.244,.251,.284,.537Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Richard Preston To See or Not to See Twenty-Twenty is perfect vision, it’s said that it is hindsight, and mostly importantly it’s the new year. To better...

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Shine Bright Like a Star of Bethlehem Quilt

Star of Bethlehem Pattern Quilt, c. 1840Maker unknownCotton; 100 x 100 in.2002.14.86Gift of Mr. William R. Moran Hindsight is This Year With the holiday season now tragically in our rearview, and with us either already returned to our weekly lives or soon to reenter the fray, sometimes it is nice to take one last gander at an aspect of the late ann...

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Weighing in on Steelyard Scales

Steelyard Scales, 19th to 20th CenturyLaosWood, metal, fiber and tortoiseshell2019.23.71-.80Gift of Anne and Long Shung Shih Scales of Justice When most think of scales, they likely summon an image of Lady Justice, perhaps guarding the entrance of a courthouse, with golden scales for balancing the deeds of the good, the evil and the neutrally align...

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That’s Got to Sting: Barbed Blades from the Admiralty Islands

Dagger, 19th Century Admiralty Islands, Bismarck Archipelago, Manus Province, Papua New Guinea, MelanesiaWood, stingray barb, fiber and beads 2019.20.2Bowers Museum Purchase Blade with a Barb The Bowers Blog has previously spent a lot of time focusing on the art of Admiralty Islands, a small chain located in Papua New Guinea’s Bismarck Archipelago....

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Legally Fond: The Old Orange County Courthouse

Orange County Courthouse after Completion, 20th CenturyUnknown Photographer; Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 10 x 8 in.7019.21Terry E. Stephenson Collection Justice Just Is This year has been one of remembrance and celebration as 2019 marks Santa Ana’s sesquicentennial. With posts on the city’s earliest land holders, the origins of the fir...

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Thanks for the Memories: Brittany Boats Painted by Edgar Payne

Marine, Boats in Brittany, c. 1929Edgar Payne (American, 1882-1947)Oil on canvas; 16 1/2 x 19 3/4 x 2 1/2 in.F7600Gift of Mrs. Edgar Payne Not Just Foodsgiving Thanksgiving is a no-nonsense holiday because—as much as we try to take it as a moment to reflect and honor the things in our lives that we are thankful for—the holiday is perhaps most-loved...

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Wood that Can be Beat: Fijian Barkcloth Beaters

Barkcloth Beater (Ike), 19th Century Viti Levu, Fiji, PolynesiaWood; 10 ¼ x 2 5/16 x 2 1/8 in. 2019.20.1Bowers Museum Purchase March to the Beat of your Own Beater Whether made from the sheared wool of adorably cloud-like animals, pulled from cotton plants or spun from the gossamer silk of worms; textiles are made with a variety of methods througho...

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Tolúk: Palauan Women’s Currency Trays

Woman's Valuables (Toluk), early to mid 20th CenturyPalau, MicronesiaTortoiseshell2019.17.32-.33Gift of Frieda O. Wray from the Estate of Dr. & Mrs. Douglas and Carolyn Osborne Have Tolúk and See Them The Bowers Museum recently acquired the Osborne Collection, an assemblage of objects originating from the island country of Palau—an archipelago ...

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Prequel to the Origin Story: A Prehistory of Santa Ana’s Foundation

Don Bernardo Yorba’s House, c. 1910Unknown Photographer; Santa Ana Canyon, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 8 x 10 in.8478Terry E. Stephenson Collection Variations of a City In both Forged in Fire Safety: The First Santa Ana Fire Department and A Beginner’s Guide to Santa Ana Street Names the Bowers Blog has previously looked at the early hi...

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Bowers Museum Ghost Stories Vol. II

A somewhat edited photograph of the Bowers home (32154B.3)Bowers Museum Collection Bowers Spook Factory It’s that time of year once again… again! Spooks and eeriness lurk at every maligned corner; costumed kids, hidden hooligans and scary skateboarders with tricks (never treats) roam as far as the eye can see; an unreasonable number of black cats s...

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Cheating Death with Arthur Beaumont

Death of an Ignoble Enemy, 1946Arthur Edwaine Beaumont (English-born American, 1890-1978)Watercolor and tempera on paper; 24 1/2 x 28 1/2 in.98.58.1Gift of John E. Seabern Don’t Fear the Reaper, Ignore Him Some of us may have at one point in our lives found ourselves in a precarious situation such as a near-miss car accident that could just as easi...

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Angling for Answers: A Bowers Procedural Investigation

Mystery Box, late 19th to early 20th CenturyXiamen, Fujian Province, ChinaTin, ivory, felt and string 2019.16.1.1-.47Gift of Jan G. Wood Some Sleuthing Required Not everything has an easy answer. Previous Bowers Blog posts have explored a range of open-ended mysteries including Native American cogged stones, an apparent relic from the Portola Exped...

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TASS List: Russian World War II-era Propaganda Posters

Our One Thousandth Blow (TASS Poster 1000), June 5, 1944Pavel Sokolov-Skalia (Russian, 1899-1961), Nikolai Federovich Denisovskii (Russian, 1901-1981), Vasilli Lebedev-Kumach (Russian, 1891-1949); Moscow, RussiaInk on Paper2019.14.6Bowers Museum Permanent Collection Comrade in Arms When we think of war our first thought is likely of the battlefield...

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Officers and Offices: History of the Santa Ana Police Department

Motorcycle Officer, early 20th CenturyUnknown Photographer; Santa Ana, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 10 x 8 in.37057.2Leo Tiede Photography Collection Police Story California at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries was very much a part of the frontier, with justice often poorly exacted by unqualified parties. In its earliest iter...

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Feathered Funds: Solomon Island Currency Rolls

Feathered Currency Roll (Tevau), late 19th-mid 20th CenturySanta Cruz Islands, Temotu Province, Solomon Islands, MelanesiaFeather, bark, shell, fiber, resin and bead; 6 x 15 5/8 x 16 3/4 in.2001.74.14Gift of Mr. William Moran Red the Feather that Coils With the Bowers Museum’s recently opened Dimensions of Form: Tamayo and Mixografía, many visitors...

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Forms in Dimensions: Tamayo and Zapotec Sculpture

Detail of Seated Deity Figure, 300-600 ADZapotec culture; MexicoCeramic; 14 1/2 x 10 in.2000.56.7The Dr. Eli B. and Aimee Cohen Memorial Collection Universes of Meaning This week marks the opening of Dimensions of Form: Tamayo and Mixografía, an exhibition primarily about a series of three-dimensional prints made by Rufino Tamayo, one of the most i...

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The Immaculate ‘Art of Mary

Detail of Heart of Mary, c. 1750Miguel Ballejo y Mandirano; MexicoOil on canvas; 30 x 22 in.89.22.2Donated by Mr. Gene R. Wood Feast of the Hurt Pain is an awful thing. It can come from a variety of sources, but it is perhaps most punishing when it attacks us through a loved one. The Christian faith is in part based around the suffering and self-sa...

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Bebe in the Woods: Santa Ana’s Jailed Star

Detail of Bebe Daniels Imprisoned in Orange County Jail, 1921Unknown photographer; Santa Ana, Orange County, CaliforniaPhotographic print; 7 x 5 in.34636Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Weston Walker Paying the Toll Back in February the Bowers Blog looked at one reason why Hollywood stars were stopping by early Santa Ana in Saint Ann’s Inn: Santa Ana’s Love Sh...

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Birds of a Feather: Plumed Headdresses from Around the World

Detail of Feathered Headdress, 20th CenturyKayapo Mebêngôkre culture; Xingu River area, Para, BrazilMacaw and waterfowl feather, string and cotton; 68 x 57 in.91.34.1.1-.2Bowers Museum Acquisitions Fund Purchase As the Crow Flies, Not So Far Bird feathers are surprisingly intricate structures: leaflike in nature with a rigid or semi-rigid midrib ca...

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Two-Face: An Unfinished Tongan Paddle Club

Details of Paddle Club (Mougalaulau), mid 19th CenturyTonga, PolynesiaWood; 45 ½ in.2019.19.1Bowers Museum Purchase; Photograph courtesy of Michael Hamson Endless Buffering The towering spires of Antoni Gaudí’s Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, the fragmented narrative of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Love of the Last Tycoon or Michelangelo’s unfinished ...

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Every Federal Employee Deserves Favor: Gifts of State in the Bowers’ Collections

Gold Bracelet, c. 1970JordanianGold and elephant hair; 1 1/8 x 2 1/2 in.77.4.8Gift of United States Government The Gift that Keeps on Taking In the United States there is a price that can be put on changing someone’s mind. It exists in the form of an upper limit for the value of gifts that can be accepted from foreign dignitaries and, given that it...

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Night’s Bane: Fire Dance Masks of New Britain's Baining Culture

Fire Dance Mask (Vungvung), 20th CenturyBaining culture; Gazelle Peninsula, New Britain, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea, MelanesiaBark cloth, bamboo cane and paint; 65 x 53 x 148 1/2 in.2007.6.1Gift of Anne and Long Shung Shih Sparks Like Stars in the Sky Held at torch-point against a pressing sea of night or built as a pyre to be enci...

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A Beginner’s Guide to Santa Ana Street Names

Map of Santa Ana, 1915Clyde D. Butler and Geo L. Bates; Santa Ana, CaliforniaPaper and ink; 20 × 25 5/8 in.17481Bowers Museum Permanent Collection Spurgeons, Surgeons and Spurred Dons For those of us who live in, work in or enjoy any of the myriad offerings of Santa Ana, we have spent hundreds, if not thousands of hours traversing the county seat’s...

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