Category Archives: 125th Anniversary Object of the Day

Ram in the Thicket [Object of the Day #125]

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Statuette of a goat standing upright against the branches of a flowering plant. The goat has been identified as a markhor (Capra falconeri), a wild species native to the mountains of Central and South Asia, by its large corkscrew-shaped horns. The statuette is a quintessential example of early Mesopotamian (Sumerian) composite art, with its rich […]

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Mosaic Fragment [Object of the Day #124]

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  Although this mosaic now stands as a wall within the Roman gallery, it originally formed part of a large house floor in one of the ancient Roman cities in Tunisia, probably Utica. The panel is over 2 m long and 1.3 m wide, and is dominated by a meander pattern composed of interlocking squares. […]

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Bagobo Shield [Object of the Day #123]

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A dress shield, carried at festivals by Bagobo men of southern Mindanao, in the Philippines.  At the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis in 1904 men from the Bagobo village staged daily “shield dances” in which they carried shields like this one.  Among the visitors to the fair who saw the dances were two sisters […]

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Family Statue [Object of the Day #122]

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  Dating to the Middle Kingdom, this basalt statuette depicts a family group, with the mother (Sneferu) and father (Hetep-Sekhmet) on the left, and two son (Ankhu and Pepi) on the right. The left arm of each of the three males is placed across the chest, and each of the left hands grasps a bolt […]

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Food Dish [Object of the Day #121]

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Bowls of this unique, elegant form come from the islands of Wuvulu and Aua, in the Bismarck Archipelago (Papua New Guinea). The culture of these two islands is actually Micronesian rather than Melanesian, and the minimalist feel of these bowls is typical of the Micronesian aesthetic.  Although an early visitor reported seeing them used to […]

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Lime Container [Object of the Day #120]

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  Small wooden container used to carry powdered lime. In many parts of the world lime, chopped areca nut and betel leaf are combined and formed into a quid which is sucked and chewed as a mild stimulant.  The practice is called betel chewing. This lime container, with a lid carved in the form of […]

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Bronze Cuirass [Object of the Day #119]

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  This heavy bronze cuirass served as a warrior’s chest protector.  Only the front part survives of what was originally a cuirass made of two pieces fastened at the shoulders and sides.  The surface is decorated with a raised geometric pattern of rows of triangles and dots.  The elements of the pattern meet at a […]

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Wine Jar [Object of the Day #118]

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Most ancient Egyptian pottery tends to be very utilitarian: rough vessels used for day to day purposes, the pots and pans of the land of the pharaohs. Occasionally, however, Egyptian potters produced beautifully decorated wares. Techniques such as slipping and polishing, incised decoration, modeling, and painted decoration (as in this example) produced Egypt’s fine wares. […]

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African Basket [Object of the Day #117]

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  This round basket is from our African collection. It it made from twine and interlacing plant fibers. These materials are woven together to create the beautiful geometric patterns that cover the object. Penn Museum Object #AF1835A See this and other objects like it on Penn Museum’s Online Collection Database

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Chinese Painting [Object of the Day #116]

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  This painting, named “A Pair of Doves”  by Yi Yuanji, depicts two spotted doves (Streptopelia chinensis ) amid sprays of soft bamboo with a pile of rocks from which grows a small stunted tree. The time of year is most likely autumn or early winter. The signature of Yi Yuanji, 易元吉, is found on the face of […]

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