Category: Images of Unfamiliar Works


                  The Sainsbury Centre catalogue describes this as “an exceptional sculpture of the Papuan hornbill”. It also details the problem of trying to interpret the combination of figures found in this carving “the relationship between the hornbill, frigate bird (on the back), two skeletal fish and prone …

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  This appears as quite a scary mask when you first approach it – perhaps its original purpose! It is from Northern New Ireland which I had not heard of until I visited Sainsbury Centre to see the mask. I have now learned that it is close to (if not part of) Papua New Guinea. …

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Standing Maori Figure

According to the Sainsbury Centre catalogue, these figures may “represent deified ancestors” and that they date to the period prior to missionary activity.” The catalogue also details how this is not a complete figure as “it has been emasculated and the feet are damaged at the front and back”. The hair is also missing from …

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Olmec Figure

Apparently many visitors to the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts consider this figure to be a baby (sometimes even a Chinese baby) because of the proportions and facial features. Some scholars have suggested that the head shape may “represent natural or intentional cranial deformation of infants”. I had not heard of the Olmec people …

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Baby Carrier

  I was quite taken by the concept of a baby carrier as a work of art, in the UK at the present time they are simply functional objects, so it was really interesting to read on the SCVA notes how this was made and the meanings of the different aspects of the carving and …

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Shrine figure of a mother and child

This figure is from Nigeria, I was really interested to learn how the Yoruba people carved these sort of pieces for a shrine, but not to be worshipped directly rather as a symbol of a spiritual being. My comments are here Shrine figure of a mother and child