One of the most intriguing pieces on display in A Fine Possession: Jewellery and identity is this ‘Samurai Fish’ brooch created as part of Sheridan Kennedy’s PhD exhibition The Specious Voyages at the Museum of Brisbane in 2005.
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If I had to single out one of my favourite pieces of Pacific ornament being showcased in A fine possession: jewellery and identity, it would have to be the wasekaseka neckpiece. Comprising twenty-six sperm whale’s teeth split lengthways, the wasekaseka is among Fiji’s best known types of jewellery that were typically made by Tongan and Samoan craftsmen who lived there.
“At present I am concerned with certain metaphysical, psychological and social aspects of jewellery-with its ability to inform and transform'. Margaret West, 1982 * Margaret West was an influential jeweller, lecturer as well as poet and writer.
The hei-tiki is the most famous of all Maori jewellery items. Humanoid in shape, they are typically characterised by a tilting head, huge, gaping open mouth, large, bulbous eyes, splayed hips with arms akimbo and a pronounced and often dilated vulval area (Starzeka 1996: p.43)*.
Pictured on-site, amidst the installation of A Fine Possession, Rebecca Ellis is seen positioning the mount for the neckpiece by Susan Cohn. Once the mount had been positioned and fixed into place on the fabric covered PET panel, the neckpiece was secured onto the mount.
Every now and again when working with a Museum’s collection, you will come across an object that was acquired so long ago that little is known about its provenance. There are a few meagre clues to help uncover what you hope will turn out to be an enriching and surprising story, something that shows that this piece is special.
This ceremonial regalia from the Admiralty Islands (early 20th century) is one of the Museum’s most prized Pacific pieces. While individual components of the regalia (like the armbands or apron) can often be found in public and private collections, a near or complete set, like this, is very rare.
Since the late 19th century, the Museum has collected a select and representative range of Pacific material culture - namely, body ornament, clubs, implements of daily use, textiles and dress - from the island regions of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia.
The Powerhouse Museum has an amazing range of Australian and international, historical and contemporary objects which tell us so much about who we are, where we came from and perhaps more importantly, they may help us identify who we are now and where we are going.
Love it or hate it, it’s Valentine’s Day! A day that has celebrated romantic love in the West since the Middle Ages, it is often marked with the giving of gifts as tokens of love. Love and jewellery have long been associated with each other, from betrothal to mourning; it has been given and worn to show passion, devotion and loss.
Lawn bowls is one of Australia's most popular sports, It has seen several transformations in its history. Beginning as an occasional public house sport, it was a leisure activity for the male elite in the nineteenth century, then a mass sport for men and women after the Second World War and now appeals to a much younger age group.
I am pretty excited to share these floral brooches with you by contemporary studio jeweller Roseanne Bartley. Not only are they recent acquisitions for the Museum’s permanent collection, but they will also be displayed in our exciting and upcoming jewellery exhibition, due to open September 2014.