In the last number of Museumskunde issued in May, 1914, the greater number of pages are taken up by an article on the new museum of east Asiatic art at Cologne which was opened on October 25, 1913.
The opening of this great museum, which was made possible by Adolf Fischer, whose death took place on April 13, 1914, marks a stage in the history of museums, for it recognizes for the first time in the western world the position of the art of the Far East. That this art is entitled to a high place in the estimation of Occidentals and that it has a great message to convey to the world are facts which have already begun to find acceptance in the centers of western civilization. Hereafter we shall see the great museums which aim to represent the history of human culture turn a larger share of their attention to the field of far eastern civilization.
It is recorded in the same number of Museumskunde that during the three months between January 1 and April 1, 1914, twelve museums were opened in Europe. Some of these were new, others were reopened after rearrangement or enlargement. Most of these museums are in Germany. During the same period, fifteen new museums were projected in Europe and one at Peking in China. Out of the fifteen European museums projected, the majority were to be built in Germany.
This chronicle of museum activity was just too early to record the opening of the new wing of the British Museum, which took place in May, 1914.
Since that record was printed, other events have taken place in Europe which will undoubtedly defer indefinitely the realization of some of the projected museums. Besides this, during the vicissitudes of war which Europe is now to pass through, the museums will suffer severely. Not only will the increase of collections cease and the administration in many cases become demoralized, but there is grave danger of collections being lost or destroyed, accidentally or deliberately, by the operations of the armies. Moreover, museums are among the institutions that are sure to be converted into hospitals and it must be expected that often in these cases collections of value will be found in the way and will suffer accordingly.
The Museum course of lectures will begin on Saturday, November 7th. On that date Mr. Charles Wellington Furlong, F. R. G. S., will lecture on Argentina and the Patagonian Pampas. This lecture will be followed on Saturday, November 14th, by one on Chile, the Strait of Magellan and Tierra del Fuego by Mr. Furlong.
On November 21st, Mr. Frederic Monsen, F. R. G. S., will lecture on The Pueblo Indians of New Mexico and Arizona.
The expedition to Northern Siberia, announced in the last number of the JOURNAL, left Moscow about May 30th and arrived at Selyakino on the Yenisei River on June 22d. The party was on its way to Golchiki in the estuary of the Yenisei.
The last letter from the expedition was written on June 22d at Selyakino. Studies were being made among the Ostyak, Dolgan, Yurok and Tungus who were camped on the Yenisei for the fishing. The party planned to remain for some time on the estuary of this river.
The Amazon Expedition has again returned to the interior; this time to conduct explorations on the Upper Amazon near the Peruvian frontier.
Dr. Farabee, after spending a short time at Barbadoes and at Para in order to recuperate from the fatigue and hardships of the previous journey, wrote from Manáos on July 26th. He was then about to start for the upper river, where for several months he will be out of reach of communication.
The Museum has just acquired by purchase from London dealers, several important additions to the collection of Chinese art. The most important pieces are a bronze Buddhist image of the Ming period; two divinities in bronze, one seated on a lion and another on an elephant; six bronze vases of the Yuan and early Ming periods; a jade group of the Wei dynasty and a jade Buddha of the Ming period.
In the March number of the JOURNAL announcement was made of the acquisition of reproductions of the frescos, as well as of the bronze and gold cups and swords and daggers of bronze and gold found in Mycenae, Tiryns, Vapheio, Crete and Melos. These are now installed, together with the collection of Cretan originals, on the upper floor of the western wing of the Museum.
The Museum has received this summer by exchange with the National Museum, Athens, in return for prehistoric Arizona pottery, the following specimens of Greek pottery: (I) A white Athenian lekythos, with scene of a man and youth bringing gifts to a tomb. The vase is in perfect condition and the decoration is entirely characteristic of this beautiful and highly prized class of Attic ware. (2) Three geometric vases; a small jug of the class held to be Cretan, a bowl and cover, and a bowl with high handles. (3) An unpainted cup from Chalandriane, Syra. (4) A small Mycenaean vase from Argos. (5) Thirteen fragments of Thessalian neolithic ware, chiefly from Dimini and Sesklo. This ware, which is found only in fragments, is of particular interest both because it is recently discovered and because it bears so striking a resemblance to our own Indian pottery of the southwest.
J. D. Beazley, Esq., of Christ Church, Oxford, visited the Museum early in September, and spent several days in studying the collection of Attic red-figured vases. Mr. Beazley’s studies in this field of art have convinced him of the possibility of assigning Attic vases to their respective artists. The method used in this identification may be compared to that used by art critics for identifying the paintings of the old masters and is based on a keen scrutiny of the details of drawing. Mr. Beazley was able during his recent visit to identify the painters of most of the red-figured vases in the Museum.
The following publications have been issued since the last
number of the JOURNAL went to press:
Vol. II, No. 2, “Notes on Chasta Costa Phonology and Morphology,” by Edward Sapir.
Vol. IV, No. 2, ” Sacred Bundles of the Sac and Fox Indians,” by M. R. Harrington.
Vol. VI, No. 1, “Human Skulls from Gazelle Peninsula,” by George Grant MacCurdy.
Vol. VI, No. 2, ” Dance Festival of the Alaskan Eskimo,” by E. W. Hawkes.
Vol. IV, “Historical Texts” by Arno Poebel.
Vol V, “Historical and Grammatical Texts” (Plates), by Arno Poebel.
Vol. VI, ” Grammatical Texts,” by Arno Poebel.
Vol. VIII, ” Legal and Administrative Documents Chiefly from the Dynasties of Isin and Larsa, by Edward Chiera.
A book by Dr. Arthur Ungnad entitled “Babylonian Letters of the Time of the Hammurapi Period” is in press and ready to be issued. The appearance of this work is being delayed owing to the fact that Dr. Ungnad, who is in Germany, has no opportunity to read and return the proofs.
Prof. George A. Barton, of Bryn Mawr, has prepared a volume of archaic Babylonian business documents which he has copied from tablets in the Babylonian collections of the Museum. In addition to this, Professor Barton has prepared a volume of religious texts from the same collections. Both these volumes are ready for the press.
The new addition to the building is finished so far as the exterior is concerned. The interior of the rotunda and its dome are also complete, with the exception of the floor, which cannot be put in place until the construction of the dome which forms the ceiling of the auditorium underneath has been finished. There remains also to be finished during the autumn months the interior of the auditorium and the galleries connecting the new wing to the old.
An exhibition has been arranged consisting of the Chinese objects acquired during the last year and including the Lo-han described elsewhere in this JOURNAL. The exhibition also includes the Alexander Scott Collection of Tibetan objects and a number of other objects representative of far Eastern civilization. Owing to lack of space, this exhibition has been arranged on both landings of the main stairs.
The following new annual members have been elected since the
last JOURNAL went to press:
Mrs. William Henry Lyon, Mr. B. F. Rittenhouse.
During the six months from March 31st to September 30th the number of visitors at the Museum was 21,578. During the same six months of 1913 the number was 25,694.