Where in the World?

Originally Published in 1959

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The making of masks is widespread both as to place and time. Their uses are varied, ranging from religious ceremonial for both the living and the dead, to theatrical characterization, to those worn simply for fun. Many are highly stylized, others grotesque, and still others portraits, not necessarily of indi¬≠viduals but of a group. The masks shown on this page are such semi-portraits whose features resemble those of the people who made them. (For identifications, see page 40.)

Museum News:

Hasanlu, Iran

The members of the expedition to Hasanlu, under the leadership of Robert H. Dyson, Jr., arrived in Iran early in June. This year the Metropolitan Museum of Art is sponsoring the dig along with the Iranian Government and the University Museum. The Metropolitan’s representative is Dr. Vaughn E. Crawford who is acting as assistant director.
Again this year work will be continued on the central Citadel Mound with its successive seventy feet of building levels, only thirty feet of which had been cleared at the end of the 1958 season. One of the objectives is to clear and explore an ancient structure believed to have been a bronze worker’s shop, which should add considerably to our knowledge of the way of life in Iran in the early first millennium B.C.
Test excavations will be made in the south and west sections of the outer town area in an effort to determine the extent of the Bronze Age occupation. Work will be continued until the end of August.


(“The Head”) is President of the Philadelphia Neurosurgical Society and Vice-President of the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy, Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and of the International College of Surgeons, and former president of the Philadelphia Neurological Society and of the Harvey Cushing Society. Dr. Fay graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School in 1921; was on the staff of that school and of the University of Pennsylvania Hospital until 1929 when he became Professor of Neurosurgery at Temple University School of Medicine. Throughout his career he has been consulting neurosurgeon on the staffs of many hospitals, mostly in the Philadelphia area, and is the author of numerous publications in his particular field.


(“The Head”) obtained his Ph.D. degree in Basel: he is Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Mississippi. Since 1954 he has been a Research Associate of the University Museum. From 1954 to 1956 he was at the Museum working on the publication of Cypriote sites; that work still continues. He spent the next two years in Greece doing research into the backgrounds of orientalizing art. While his particular field is Corinthian vases, of which he has published a study, he is also interested in style phases of Hellenistic sculpture.


(“The Head”) has been a member of the faculty of Haverford College since 1917, where he is now Professor Emeritus of Classical Philology. Dr. Post is a well known authority on Greek life and literature, particularly the works of Plato and Menander. Among his published writings are The Vatican Plato and its Relations, From Homer to Menander, and Meander: Three Plays (a translation). He is a member of the Philological Association, The Linguistic Society, and the Archaeological Institute of America.


(“Ancient and Primitive Art in Philadelphia Collections”) was graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1952 where he did three years of graduate work in the Department of the History of Art. He has been associated with the Museum for five years, first as an assistant in the Mediterranean Section, then as Manager of Exhibitions. He is responsible for the re-installation of the Egyptian ands Roman Galleries as well as for the arrangement of the various temporary exhibitions; his was the selection of pieces in this current exhibition from Philadelphia collections.


(“Siberians of the New World”) did field work in Canada 1949-51 and in Alaska in 1956 and 1958. He has been a student assistant in the American Section of the Museum and is currently working on his Ph.D. dissertation in the Department of Anthropology of the University of Pennsylvania. The subject is archaeological study of culture contact in the Bering Sea region with emphasis on Siberian and American developments. Mr. Ackerman expects to visit the Soviet Union where he will study collections recently excavated from the Bering Sea coast of Siberia.


(“Archaeological Visitors”), Associate Director of the University Museum since 1950, obtained his Ph.D. degree from Harvard in 1937. From 1935 to 1950, except for service in the U. S. Army Air Force from 1942 to 1946, he taught anthropology at Harvard and was Curator of South American Archaeology at the Peabody Museum there. His interest is the archaeology of Central and South America, particularly of the Andean region. He has done field work in Venezuela, Honduras, Peru, and Bolivia. His reports on these excavations and other related articles have appeared in scientific publications. He is co-author of the recently published Art of the Ancient Maya.


(“Portrait of a Hero”), Assistant Curator of the Educational Section of the Museum since I952, was previously associated with the Egyptian Section. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Education. As a member of the Educational Committee of the International Council of Museums, he has devoted much attention to museum educational practices both here and abroad. He has visited and photographed numerous Roman sites throughout western Europe and is coauthor of the recently published Cities in the Sand: Leptis Magna and Sabratha in North Africa. He is now completing his Ph.D. dissertation on a study of Cicero.

Identifications of Masks Pictured on Page 38

No. 1: this is not quite fair. Actually it was made in Guatemala but it represents one of the Conquistadors and is rather exaggeratedly European. It is worn at fiesta time in a dance depicting the coming of the Spaniards. No. 2 is of a Taimahian Indian woman of British Columbia, wearing a lip plug. It is of wood, painted. and was made toward the end of the eighteenth century, which is quite old for an American Indian piece. No. 3 is a simple wooden mask from Point Barrow, Alaska and was made at least fifty years ago by the Eskimo at that far northern settlement. The coiffure of No. 4 is characteristic of the Guro people of the Ivory Coast. This particular mask evidently was made just for show because it does not have the inside projection which would be held in the teeth if the mask were meant to be worn in a dance. It is of wood stained a deep mahogany red and black, and was made some fifty or sixty years ago. No. 5, of wood, gilded and painted, and surmounted by cobras, is a devil dancer’s mask from Ceylon; the features are much more realistic than usual in this class of masks, many of them being quite grotesque. It is about a hundred years old. The more than life size wooden mask, No. 6. comes from one of the small islands in the western part of the Torres Straits which lie between Australia and New Guinea. It was used in fertility ceremonies before the harvest to obtain good crops. Torres Straits wooden masks are very rare. This one probably dates from the end of the nineteenth century, as does No. 7 which, though it bears a superficial resemblance to some Far Eastern masks, was really made by the Palumbo people of the Gabun District of French West Africa. It belonged to a men’s secret society which conducted ceremonies to propitiate the souls of dead women. Both the closed eyes and the white color signify death and the spirit world. No. 8 is a gold death mask from a mummy bundle of the Chimu people of Peru and dates from the fifteenth century A.D. No. 9 is a cartorinage mask, painted and gilded, from the mummy case of an Egyptian woman who lived during Ptolemaic times in about the second century B.C. The white onyx mask, No. 10 was carved in Mexico about A.D. 700; but we do not know how it was used. It is a superb example of Teotihuacan sculpture.

Cite This Article

"Where in the World?." Expedition Magazine 1, no. 4 (July, 1959): -. Accessed April 18, 2024. https://www.penn.museum/sites/expedition/where-in-the-world-2/

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