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 August 2017

opium-pipe-full-iii-e1505565781228.jpgCuriosity: Opium pipe

Country of origin: China

Maker: Unknown

Created: 19th century (?)

Measurements: 558mm

Material: Bamboo and metal (possibly tin or brass)

 

 

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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

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Year of Legends 2017

Welsh Dragon

2017 is the ‘Year of Legends’ in Wales, and we delved deeply into our collection to see what treasures relating to this fabulous theme might come to light. We selected a few, some of which will be included in a small display at the School of Art; others will only be viewable online. This is an on-going project and from time to time we might add to this post, so keep an eye out for updates.

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The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club by Charles Dickens with illustrations by Phiz (Household Words, 1874)

(Click on the images to enlarge them.)

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Karen’s Cabinet of Curiosities May 2017

DSC06587Curiosity: Tiger head and forepaws in glass case

Date: 1903 (shot)

Origin: Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India

Maker: J. Hutchings, Naturalist and Gunmaker, Aberystwyth

Measurements (case): 71x41x79cm

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Karen’s Cabinet of Curiosities: April 2017

dsc_0072Curiosity: Rock crystal and enamelled silver casket

 

Origin: probably Vienna, Austria

 

Date: 2nd half 19th century (before 1882)

 

Maker: unknown/no maker’s mark

 

Measurements: ca. 14x12x9.5 cm

 

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