Turning a New Leaf into Art

Oak Leaf Ornament, early 20th CenturyUnknown maker; probably United StatesGold; 4 1/2 in.30713BGift of Mrs. Anita L. Alexander Disbe-leaf That It Is 2024 Hard to believe as it may be, 2023 has ended and the new year, 2024, has begun. With high hopes for all the wonderful and exciting things that the new year may hold, today’s post celebrates the pr...

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Bridge Between Worlds: Hopi Katsina Figures

Katsina Figures (Tithu), late 19th to mid 20th CenturyHopi culture; ArizonaCottonwood root, pigment, and various mediums88.7.1, 89.1.17, 89.1.18, 7480, and 20630Gifts of John J. Hawkins, June Kennady Robertson, Miss Prudence Brown, and Mary J. Newland The Earth, The Air, and Everything In Between The Hopi, Zuni, and other Puebloan peoples believe i...

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Hoppy New Hare: Ushering in the Water Rabbit

Modified detail of F81.109.8Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Reilly P. Rhodes in Memory of Clarence H. Hoiles History of the Zodiac This past Sunday marked the beginning of the Lunar New Year, a holiday closely tied to the zodiac observed by cultures of eastern Asian countries like China and Vietnam as well as their diaspora. The Chinese zodiac of twelve anima...

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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.,.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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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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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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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. 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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Five Faces of the Moon

Composite image of the moon and objects in this post. One Giant Leap On July 20, 1969 three humans boarded an aluminum and stainless-steel rocket, rose into the heavens and collectively became the first group to set foot on another celestial body. Taking his first apprehensive steps on the alien scape of the moon, Neil Armstrong famously said “that...

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J.L. Hubbell: Silver Tongue, Golden Heart and Wool Rugs

Rug, c. 1910Navajo; probably Ganado, ArizonaDyed wool; 65 x 105 in.2019.5.1Gift of Dennis J. Aigner White Hat There is good cause for the romanticizing of the American West: it is a breathtaking part of this nation. Mesas rise from the red earth like monolithic and silent guardians; the skies are distilled blue, endless and not cloudy all day. More...

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Gone Fishing: Catching Neptune’s Bounty on Father’s Day

Fishing Hook, late 19th to early 20th CenturyIñupiaq culture; Seward Peninsula Area, AlaskaWalrus ivory, lead, iron and cotton thread; 2 1/4 × 4 1/8 in.39352Gift of Winifred P. Morgan Let’s See What’s Biting, Champ Some dads fit all the clichés. They are handy when something needs fixing, quick with a pun but otherwise tactful enough to let mom han...

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Dragon Glass: Taking Stock at the Bowers Museum

Battle and Hunting Weapons, 300-1519Michoacán, MexicoObsidian; various dimensions2003.10.42C-IAnonymous Gift The Night King Cometh As most fantasy buffs are well¬-aware, HBO’s Game of Thrones returns for the first of its final six episodes this upcoming Sunday. Not to spoil too much of the show for those who are interested in watching but have not ...

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Blankets of the Chilkat Tlingit

Blanket, early 20th CenturyMaggie Kadanaha (Chilkat Tlingit, 1873-1959); Alaska, Northwest Coast, United States of AmericaMountain goat’s wool with cedar bark warp strands and pigment; 54 × 74 × 1 in.2016.14.1Gift of the Herbert W. Clark Trust Alaska For Directions At the turn of the 20th Century the Chilkat Tlingit lived along the painfully stark ...

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Nampeyo of Hano (1857-1942)

Jar, 1931Nampeyo of Hano (1857-1942); Hano Pueblo, Hopi Reservation, ArizonaClay and paint; 7 x 8 x 4 1/2 in.36809.3Gift of Dr. & Mrs. Earl SandersWhat the Railway BroughtThe late 19th Century’s introduction of the rail to the Southwest was a gift and a curse for Southwestern United States’ Pueblo Territories. The immediate influx of cheap East Coa...

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J.B. Moore: More than One Way to Sell a Rug

Variant on J.B. Moore’s Plate XXX Rug, c. 1920Navajo; Crystal, San Juan County, New MexicoWool and pigment; 69 1/2 × 54 in.2016.12.4Gift of Dennis Aigner            Variant on J.B. Moore’s Plate XXX Rug, 1910-1920            Navajo; Crystal, San Juan County, New Mexico  &nbs...

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Lucy Lewis (1898-1992)

Jar, c. 1981Lucy Lewis (1898-1992); Acoma Pueblo, New MexicoClay and paint; 5 x 10 1/4 in.F81.61.1Gift of the ArtistPotter of the CenturyPhotograph of Lucy Lewis painting a vessel.With the influx of western products that the pueblos of the American Southwest saw during the 19th Century, many traditional Native American art forms such as pottery onl...

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The O'odham Maze of Life and Personhood

Plaque with "Labyrinth" Design, 20th CenturyPima culture; Southern ArizonaWillow, devil's claw and tule; 15 1/2 in.30070Gift of Mrs. Mary J. Newland Theseus, He Pleases Us Labyrinths play important roles in many cultures’ stories, persisting into modern pop culture with novels, film, and television. In HBO’s hit series Westworld, it is a maze ...

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Father’s Day Pipe Dream

Pipe, 1000-1700Chumash culture; CaliforniaSteatite and clam shell beads; 1 9/16 x 1 x 12 3/16 in.80017Fred Randolph Aldrich Collection This is a Pipe Does the apotheotic father smoke a pipe? Perhaps he has not since at least the 1950s. Still though, a dad casually puffing on a pipe—maybe on a Sunday morning while reading the paper, fooling around w...

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Maud “The Mom” McBroom

Basketry Olla, early 20th CenturyPima culture; Arizona, United StatesBear grass, willow and devil’s claw; 11 3/4 × 9 1/4 in.2018.3.3Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John and Elizabeth Stahr That’s Moms Moms are a fairly universal force of good in the world, seeking more often than not to safeguard their children’s wellbeing and ensure their happiness. Top scho...

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