Photo of a Buryat shaman from the first half of the 20th century. Unknown photographer.
Date: ca. 6th century
India (Madhya Pradesh)
Lajja Gauri is shown in a birthing posture but does not display the swollen belly of one about to give birth, which suggests that the image is of sexual fecundity. The lotus flower in place of her head makes this association with fertility explicit. This expression of the concept of the female body as the embodiment of life-affirming forces is perhaps the most extreme in Indian iconography. At her left is a diminutive kneeling figure, undoubtedly the donor. This miniature sculpture was reportedly found in the Seoni district of Madhya Pradesh, central India. Such imagery is rare and confined to the first millennium in central India and the Deccan.
Good and Evil Spirit Dance
King Island, Alaska.
Robert Garfias Archive
This giant fish charm is 55cm long and is surprisingly heavy! It’s such a wonderful blend of velvet and shiny material. A lovely start to our Tuesday! We acquired it in 1962 and it is from Tunisia. (26.9.62/5)
The first photo I have posted here is of a model of a gandua in our collection, probably made for the tourist trade in the years following WWII. Gandua are funerary statues made by the Kalasha of North West Pakistan. The Kalasha are the last devotees of an ancient religion which was once followed in the mountains of Northern Pakistan and Afghanistan. For the Kalasha, gandua can provide a home for the spirit of the deceased and also help to commemorate the life of the deceased. In the twentieth century many gandua disappeared from the Kalasha’s territory, scooped up by collectors or removed by Islamist zelots. Thankfully, recent years have seen a revival in the use of gandua and the other photos show gandua erected outside a village and gandua being ‘dressed’ and carried to their resting point as part of a funeral. We have Kalasha activist Luke Rehmat to thank for these wonderful photographs.
(object number 16.3.63/6. Acquired by the museum in 1963)
This grimoire is considered to be written in the 16th or 17 century. It was written by four male witches, three Icelanders and one Dane. This is a magical book that has been preserved, which contains the “black magic” and magic to harm others. It contains also all sorts of protection spells and magic to scare away negativity.
This week’s charms include lots of teeth and horn! Here are some we reviewed today. They are from Africa and are made from crocodile teeth.