University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Athropology


Author: David Crownover

Ancient and Primitive Art in Philadelphia Collections

object #1

By: David Crownover

Art of any period or time has been seen to pass through a life cycle: dynamic in youth, overcome by nature in middle age, philosophic in decline. Jacques Lipchitz, a sculptor, collector, and connoisseur, sees this theory in a new light. He contends that contemporary art is the beginning of a new cycle; that the […]


Once and Again

By: David Crownover

“…During the past summer a large and beautifully lighted room was granted us. Necessary cases were built, and in September the collections were moved…It was thought…that a proper display of all the objects could be made and the museum thrown open to public inspection…” So reads the annual report of the curator of the present […]


The Pink People

By: David Crownover

Europeans occur in the tribal art of Nigeria as far back as the 17th century when Portuguese sailors navigated the waters of the Niger River and established lively trade with the despotic kingdom of Benin. These bearded gentlemen found their images used decoratively on a variety of artifacts–girdle masks, boxes, and even jewelry. The examples […]


A Pair of Twins

By: David Crownover

This poem translated from the Nigerian language group by Roger Wescott propounds a simple truth: it is a good thing to have children. Twins in particular have a religious significance. One of the cults of the Yoruba in Nigeria and Dahomey in West Africa is that of the ibeji (twins). The Yoruba differ from most West […]


A Mask of Turtle Shell

By: David Crownover

Between the Cape of York Peninsula in Australia and the southeast tip of land along the Papuan Gulf of New Guinea, lie the Torres Straits. The people who live on the islands in the Straits have been creating paraphernalia to complement their ritual life for centuries. The University Museum has recently acquired by purchase a […]


Amelia Edwards and the New Aswan Dam

drawing of Great rock-cut Temple, Abu Simbel

By: David Crownover

The second river of Paradise is said to have run through the Biblical land of Kush or Nubia. Modern Nubia actually consists of 22,000 square miles of austere sandstone, granite, and desert. Though no boundaries exist where Egypt ends and Nubia begins, the latter extends from Aswan to Khartum. A land of measureless silence punctuated […]


Take the Chair

By: David Crownover

Only in recent times has the chair become a household necessity. From antiquity the chair was reserved for persons of authority and occasions of great dignity and state. A chief or emperor ruled from his seat of authority–or throne. In a like manner religious authority vested itself in a chair or cathedra. So bound up was […]


Discoveries at Cyrene

By: David Crownover

“The parts of Libya about Cyrene,” as the King James version of the Acts of the Apostles styles it, at that time constituted a magnificent Greek colony of five cities. Cyrene has never been a popular travel Mecca. Lemaire, the French consul in Tripoli, visited the province in 1706. Another French traveler took the overland […]


Some Frit from Northern Mesopotamia

By: David Crownover

Frit, the word derived from the Italian “fritta,” (fried), is a chemical compound made up of silicate of lime and copper that when fired in a furnace hardens into a crystalline material resembling faience. Used in numerous ancient civilizations, small frit objects were dispersed over great areas. Frit was probably the outcome of a glaze, […]


An Ashanti Soul-Washer Badge

By: David Crownover

“In the beginning God created Black as well as White Men…God having created these two sorts of Men offered two sorts of Gifts, viz. Gold and Knowledge or Arts of Reading and Writing, giving the Blacks the first Election, who chose Gold, and left the Knowledge of Letters to the White.” This report of the […]


Alfred Bendiner and Iraq

By: David Crownover

Architect and artist, “Al” Bendiner, as a full gen­eration of The University Museum called him, served at various times on expeditions of the Mu­seum. Before his death in 1964, he had more recently “dug” at Tikal as Artist-Surveyor. His Archaeologist’s Sketchbook appeared in Volume 3, 1960 of this Bulletin. Recently his widow has generously given […]


Gold Beads From the Gold Coast

By: David Crownover

Hutchinson, in his diary, part of Mission from Cape Coast Castle to Ashantee, published by Thomas Bowdich in 1819, paints the following picture: This week past Apokoo and several of the captains (chiefs) have been making an exhibition of their riches. This is generally done once in the life by those who are in favour […]