Author Archives: Amy Ellsworth

Guardian Figure from French Gabon [Object of the Day #35]

Reliquary

This figure from Gabon is made of wood covered with metal sheets represents a human face and would serve as a reliquary guardian figure. Read more about the depiction of European people in Yoruba sculpture in Expedition magazine article The Pink People by David Crownover. Penn Museum Object #29-12-236. View this object and more like it […]

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Amphora from 490 BCE [Object of the Day #30]

Amphora

This Attic red figure amphora was made around 490 BCE in the Greek city of Athens.  It was exported to the Etruscan city of Vulci (north of Rome), where it was found in the early 19th century CE.  Athens (and the surrounding region, Attica) was known for  iron-rich clay that was used in its characteristic Attic […]

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Coconut Grater Stool [Object of the Day #27]

Coconut Splitter

This coconut grater stool was made in 1964 by local artisan Soses Tara on Nukuoro atoll in the Caroline Islands. A serrated piece of shell is attached to the front of the stool with plant fibers, and a split coconut is rubbed along the rough edge to shred the meat.  The gracefully shaped stool resembles a […]

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Yoruba Sculpture from Nigeria [Object of the Day #26]

Yoruba Sculpture

This wooden sculpture from Nigeria depicts two African men carrying a European man wearing a pith helmet in a palanquin. Read more about the depiction of Europeans in Yoruba art in the Expedition magazine article The Pink People by David Crownover. Penn Museum Object #75-31-1. See this and other objects like it in the Penn […]

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Bangongo Mask from the Congo [Object of the Day #25]

Mask

This mask face was made by the Bangongo people of the Belgian Congo. It is decorated with geometric designs and two metal studs between eyes. The hairline is decorated with blue and white beads and cowrie shells. Dark colored cloth used on top of mask as hair. Cowrie shells are attached in 15 rows. Woven […]

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7,000 Year-old Wine Jar [Object of the Day #23]

7,000 Year-old Wine Jar

The practice of wine-making or viniculture can be traced back to the Neolithic period, 7,000 years ago when the first Eurasian grape vines were domesticated for this purpose. This “Wine Jar” was found at Hasanlu in Hajji Firuz, Iran. It has been reconstructed from multiple fragments. The jar is one of a series of jars […]

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Greek Grave Stela [Object of the Day #22]

Greek Grave Stela

The design of this Greek grave relief is common for the Classical period of the 5th and 4th centuries BCE. All three figures are dressed in typical Classical Greek costume: the seated woman wears a chiton* with a mantle or himation* while the men wear only a himation. The woman is older, a matron, as […]

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Ethiopian Coptic Crosses [Object of the Day #21]

cross

Saint Mark brought Christianity to Egypt during the reign of the Roman emperor Nero in the first century CE. Christianity spread throughout Egypt within half a century of Saint Mark’s arrival, and by 400 CE, Christianity flourished in both Egypt and Ethiopia. These early Christians became known as Copts, from the Greek name for Egyptians, […]

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Maya Vase from Chama, Guatemala [Object of the Day #21]

Chama Pot

This Maya polychrome ceramic ware from Chama, Guatemala was made around the 8th century CE. This pot is decorated with pictoral designs painted in several tints of red-orange and sepia on cream slip, red and black lines with typical Chama chevron band at top and bottom. Seven human figures in ceremony are accompanied by two […]

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Pomo Basket [Object of the Day #19]

Pomo Basket

The Pomo people lived along the parts of central and northern California for thousands of years before European settlers came in 1850. The name Pomo simply means “people.” Both Pomo men and women weave baskets, but their styles and the function of the basketry may vary. At the turn of the 20th century, Pomo women […]

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