Whatsits and Whatnots: Bowers Permanent Collection Oddballs

Detail of 2003.50.37 Gift 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 ...
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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, Melanesia Wood, stingray barb, fiber and beads 2019.20.2 Bowers 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 Archipelag...
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Two-Face: An Unfinished Tongan Paddle Club

Details of Paddle Club ( Mougalaulau ), mid 19th Century Tonga, Polynesia Wood; 45 ½ in. 2019.19.1 Bowers 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 unfin...
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Blade with a Beak: New Guinean Bone Daggers

Bone Daggers ( Yina and Amia Ava ), 20th Century Abelam and Iatmul culture; East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, Oceania Cassowary bone and pigment 2010.22.5-.31 Gift of Anne and Long Shung Shih They do Move in Herds Unassuming dinosaurs of the modern era that they are, cassowaries are incredible creatures. For example, though flightle...
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At Harms Length: Shark Tooth Spears of the Gilbert Islands

Spear Heads ( Tataumanaria ), late 19th Century I-Kiribati culture; Gilbert Islands, Kiribati, Micronesia Palm wood, shark teeth and sennit; various dimensions 2019.6.1-.2 Gift of Anne and Long Shung Shih Into the Maw The Bowers Museum’s continued efforts to improve our Oceanic Collections has driven the acquisition of several shark tooth weapons f...
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Bring a Shark to a Knife Fight: Short Blades of the Gilbert Islands

Knife ( Tebutu ), 19th Century I-Kiribati culture; Gilbert Islands, Kiribati, Micronesia Palm wood, tiger shark teeth (galeocerdo cuvier) and sennit; 6 1/2 in. 2019.3.1 Bowers Museum Purchase War Changes Quite a Bit If humans have consistently been innovative in any one field, it is in the discovery of more effective ways to injure one another. Oft...
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Progenitor Protection: Wooden Shields of the Asmat

War Shields, 20th Century Central and Northern Asmat culture; Papua (Irian Jaya) Province, Indonesia, Melanesia Wood, pigment and sago-frond; Various Dimensions 2017.10.148, L.2010.4.4, F75.16.1 and 2006.19.1 Anonymous Gift, Bowers Museum General Acquisition Fund Purchase, Loan courtesy of Gayle and Edward P. Roski and Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Meyer Be...
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Under the Hilt: Identifying Three Japanese Swords

Short Sword ( Wakizashi ), 15th to 19th Century Tsuguhiro (Japanese, active 1469-1521), Jiryūsai Tomohide (Japanese, 1778-1847) and Seiyōken Akitada (Japanese, active 19th Century); Fukui Prefecture, Chūbu Region, Japan and Nagasaki, Kyushu Region or Tokyo, Kantō Region, Japan Steel, manta ray skin, lacquer, silk and iron; 2 3/4 x 2 3/8 x 27 1/4 in...
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Blade with a Bite: The Shark Tooth Swords of the Gilbert Islands

Club Sword ( Te Toanea ), mid 19th Century I-Kiribati culture; Gilbert Islands, Republic of Kiribati, Micronesia Wood, shark teeth, fiber, tapa and human hair; 34 1/2in. 2018.9.1 Gift of Mark Blackburn Whirling Dervish Barring the outlandish Sharknado franchise, when we hear the phrase “shark attack,” the assumption is that we would have to be in t...
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The Niue Club in Town

Cleaving Club ( Ula-fumiti ), early to mid 19th Century Niuean culture; Niue Island, Polynesia Wood; 68 7/8 x 5 x 1 ¼ in. 2018.4.1 Bowers Museum Purchase Behold the Cook-o-nut Captain Cook was the first European to travel to Niue, a small island in the middle of Polynesia, when he landed ashore late in the spring of 1774. His welcome to the small t...
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Shields of Mendi Valley

Shields ( Wörrumbi ), 2 0 th Century Mendi culture; Southern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia Wood, pigments and fiber; Various Dimensions 2017.10.163, 2003.43.3, 2017.10.143 Anonymous Gift On the Mendi In an early 20 th Century effort to pacify Papua New Guinea, Australian colonial administrators began a campaign of suppressing trib...
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Hefty Sum: Central African Throwing Knife Currency

Throwing Knife, 19 th Century Kapsiki culture; Cameroon or Nigeria Iron, rubber and cloth; 24 1/8 x 5 3/8 in. 2003.43.91 Anonymous Gift Throwing Knife ( ngwolo ), 19 th Century Ngombe culture; Democratic Republic of the Congo Iron, wood; 19 3/8 x 12 1/2 in. 2003.43.92 Anonymous Gift Throwing Knife ( sengese ), 19 th Century Mafa culture; Cameroon o...
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Fijian Kiakavo Dance Clubs

Dance Clubs ( Kiakavo ), 19th Century Fiji, Polynesia Wood, fiber and pigment 97.138.13, .17, and 2015.17.10 Anonymous Gift and The George Stanley Lodin Collection Two late 19th Century  Fijian men hold clubs across their laps for a staged photograph. Bowers Museum Collection Gift of Mr. E. Morgan Stanley Fijian Club Scene Up until and in...
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