Karen’s Cabinet of Curiosities December 2017

 

(Click on images to enlarge them.)

Curiosity: 2 miniature portraits of Napoleon Bonaparte

Created: 1824

Artist: Maestro di Pavia

Measurements: Full-length portrait: 183×118 mm

                              Head portrait: 74×62 mm

These two miniature portraits have come to the University museum’s collection through the bequest of George Powell of Nanteos. As with so many of his objects, we have unfortunately no idea how, when and where he bought them. Holland and Meyrick explain that “Powell was very taken with Romantic struggles for liberty and nationhood. Like many other collectors in the 19th century he collected material associated with Napoleon Bonaparte.” This and the exquisite execution of the portraits might have been his reasons for acquiring them. Continue reading

Advertisements

Karen’s Cabinet of Curiosities November 2017

Curiosity: Small boxes of different materials

(from the F. W. Rudler collection)

(Click on images to enlarge them.)

Prof. F.W. Rudler, (Chemistry, 1875-1879).Frederick William Rudler (8th July 1840 – 23rd January 1915)

Frederick William Rudler was born in London in 1840. He studied at the Regent Street Polytechnic where he attended Science and Art classes. During this time, he was awarded two gold medals in one year. In 1861, he was appointed Assistant Curator at the Museum of Practical Geology in Jermyn Street, London. He remained there until, in 1876, he was offered to become a lecturer in Natural Sciences at the University College of Wales (now Aberystwyth University “AU”). He taught Chemistry and also became one of the AU’s earliest Geology Professors. In addition, he founded the university’s museum and was its first Curator. When the Curator of the Museum of Practically Geology, Trenham Reeks (1823-1879), died Rudler took Reeks’s position and the roles as Librarian of the museum and the Registrar of the Royal School of Mines, now part of Imperial College, as well. He remained Curator at Jermyn Street until his retirement in 1902. The same year he received the Imperial Service Order from King Edward VII for his services to science. Continue reading

Karen’s Cabinet of Curiosities October 2017

2017-10-20-2848Curiosity: Charango

Country of origin: South America (most likely Peru or Bolivia)

Maker: Unknown

Created: possibly late 19th or early 20th century

Measurements: 774mm

Material: armadillo shell, wood and metal

 

 

The charango is a small string instrument belonging to the lute family. It is a typical and popular instrument in the Andes of Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and parts of Argentina. It most likely derives from the early guitars that the Europeans, especially the Spanish conquistadors, brought with them from the 16th century onwards. Before, indigenous instruments included the panpipe, notched flutes and double-headed drums but not strings. With its high pitch and smaller size than a guitar, the charango is more in line with the musical aesthetics of the indigenous people and can be carried around more easily. Continue reading

Karen’s Cabinet of Curiosities September 2017

Mask VCuriosity: Noh mask

Country of origin: Japan

Created: 19th century or early 20th century (?)

Measurements: 405mm x 382mm

Material: Wood, gesso, horsehair, glass, paint, papier mâché

 

 

 

Noh is the name of the classical Japanese form of theatre. It developed from the earlier performance styles Dengaku no Noh (field music performance) and Sarugaku (“monkey music”) during the 14th century. During Dengaku, there would be acrobatics and juggling; Sarugaku had comical components and had developed from Shinto rituals. Whereas Dengaku performers would alternate the singing and the more physical parts of their show, Sarugaku actors sung and danced/mimed simultaneously; after 1420, they would also be supported by a choir. Sarugaku also became more serious over the decades and began to supplant Dengaku in the second half of the 14th century. Father and son Kan’ami Kiyosugu (1333-84) and Zeami Motokiyo (1363-1443) were famous actors of their time and are chiefly responsible for outlining the rules and conventions of the austere, dramatic art of Noh, which are still being adhered to today. Zeami explains, for example, that “the writing of No consists of three stages: choice of “seed” (subject), construction and composition. The “seed” is the story on which the play is based. This story must be well considered and divided into Introduction, Development and Climax. …Then the words must be put together and the music joined to them.” (The No Plays of Japan, Arthur Waley) Continue reading

Karen’s Cabinet of Curiosities July 2017

 

Haida Argillite Carving Complete II Jul 2017

Curiosity: Panel pipe

Creator: Haida people

Origin: Haida Gwaii

(formerly Queen Charlotte Islands), British Columbia, Canada

Date of creation: ca. 1820-1900

Material: Argillite

Measurements: 330 x 117mm

Continue reading