Cultural Confluences: A Free Tour of British Museum Artefacts
I’m putting on a free fun tour with the theme of cultural confluences: artefacts which show influences from multiple cultures. Sometimes it's a fusion of cultures from different places but sometimes it can be a fusion of cultures from different eras.
I always think it's so interesting to see objects that melt bits from different sources of influence. Sometimes the fusion of elements in the artefacts I'll cover shows an apparent willingness. In other cases there are other factors to consider which aren't pleasant. In most of them it's not always clear because there is just too much information missing from the record of the artefact.
I’m not an expert in art history, but I do like researching artefacts that tell a story. I’ve enjoyed putting these little tours on before and as always, the point is to bring together a few people together to think about themes in a museum that is currently free to enter. I have five or six artefacts in mind that are scattered in different parts of the museum. I'll read the crowd to see how many everyone wants to cover. And then we'll go somewhere for coffee!
Tentatively, the artefacts are:
(1) Mughal Huqqa pipes: combining influences from Persia, India in reaction to North American tobacco traded by Portuguese.
(2) Aleut Gutskin Parka. Material for Aleut waterproof clothing, made in shape of Russian naval uniform.
(3) Mami Wata – West African water spirits, European mermaids, a 19th century snake charmer for a German circus and mass production of a calendar in India
(4) Celestial Sphere. Islamic culture, made during Mongol invasion.
(5) Chess – worldwide spread.
(6) Snake-Legged Dionysos – fusion of aspects from Greek and Egyptian gods
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