Hair and Heads
1. Head of a mummy. Egypt. Roman period (30 BC-J C - 395 AD J-C.). Lin, gold leaf. "This mummified head is covered with gold leaf. Gold, the color of the sun, for the Egyptians was the equivalent of the" flesh "of the gods. Mummification increased chances of the deceased to access to eternal life."
I am trying to see the world with other eyes
The eyes, the mind, the world conception of another
This is not an easy task. I gather around the writers I love,
I saw this exhibition also:
Cheveux-Chéris at the Musée du Quai Branly (a few months ago). I didn’t quite like the scenography and most of the exhibition, except for the part that was truly about ethnology and especially was fascinated by the tsantsa and têtes-trophées.
Seeing art made out of bodies can sometime reach the limits of understanding for some, but what I see is that death, body and the sacred are concept to understand through different eyes.
I loved the story I read in a book by Pierre Clastres (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Clastres). After months spent with the Guayaki he begins to ask himself how he never found an actual tomb, despite the fact that the people told him in details how they would buried their dead. He thought their stories were odd because it was almost the same ritual as the Christian one...
Finally he discovered what the Guayaki believed: the bodies of the living where the tombs of the dead loved ones.
I never thought about that, it made me reconsider all my preconceived ideas of what’s wrong and what’s right. What’s beautiful and what’s ugly in our eyes...
I love exhibitions that shake me, they move me...
Because once you know and understand the reason you begin to see beauty. This is why I will never stop being amazed...
So here are some of the objects that amazed me:
2. Head of currency, New Caledonia, twentieth century. Wood, plant fibers, dog fish hairs, wool, pearl hair. "Wealth used in ceremonial exchanges, the currency is the image of the ancestors. She is the embodiment of the law governing relations between men. The head is the most valuable part, with small pendants and pearl cut, and a strand of European hair. "
3. 4. 5. Shrunken heads, Tsantsa. Shuar Jivaro. Macas, Morona-Santiago. Ecuador nineteenth century. Skin, hair. "The tsantsa were made by some Jivaro tribes like the Shuar. The tsantsa was incised from the point of ear to the nape of the neck. From this notch, the scalp is detached and is plunged into a boiling decoction which hardened the head. Through a series of operations, the skin was reduced to the size of a fist. The “préparateur” of the trophy took great care to not damage the hair. As the Shuar men never cut their hair, many hair tsantsa reach a length of 60 cm. The long ritual that follows the manufacture of tsantsa was burden with "esoteric allusions to death and rebirth, fertility and childbirth, to savagery of cannibalism and to the age-old rules of social harmony "(Philippe Descola)."
6. 7. 8. Trophies-mummified heads. Nazca Peru. - 100 BC J-C. and 700 AD. J-C. Human head. "The Nazca civilization, which preceded the Inca civilization was located in the Inca and Nazca valleys in southern Peru between -100 BC. AD and 700 AD. JC. The iconography appearing on nazca containers reflects the centrality of war and the ritual use that was made of severed heads. Once prepared, the heads were integrated into clothing - shamans and warriors wore them on their belts – and were used in ceremonies for the dead, or buried as "offerings" to ensure fertility. "
9. 10. Kanak. New Caledonia, the nineteenth century. Carved wood, basketry: vegetable fiber, feathers, hair, leaves, bark. "The hair of these masks is made of mourners hair, who, having participated in the funeral rites, observed the rule not to cut their hair. Through its form, it recalls the turban of mourners. Goliath Imperial Pigeon feathers are attached to the coat that is associated with them. We know, thanks to some legends that the possession of these masks was supposed to give the omnipotence. They were also emblems of chiefdom. Worn during funeral ceremonies, they functioned as substitutes of the deceased leader."
11. 12. Momie. Chancay. Pérou (1000-1450)