Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Results of the Photo Shoot

By: Eva Fognell, Curator of the Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection of American Indian Art
Last time, I blogged about a photo shoot we did here on Nov 23rd in preparation for the catalog that will accompany Art of the American Indians: The Thaw Collection, which opens at the Cleveland Museum of Art on March 7. Here is the stunning result of Richard Walker’s images of the Haida dish. Look at this amazing bowl! I love the photos that show the translucency of the horn. You can even see the veins in the horn, reminding us that this material was once alive. Northwest Coast artists were skilled carvers of sheep horn. The resilient horn was first steamed and then molded into shape. The dish is remarkable for its beautifully observed rendering of a small alert seabird. The bowl’s outer surface is carved in relief with formline designs representing the bird’s wings, feet, and tail-feathers, and there is an additional face on the breast with a projecting hooked nose. It is great to have an opportunity to photograph an object from many angles. I think readers of the forthcoming catalogue will really appreciate that feature.
Above: Dish, ca. 1840-1860. Haida, Queen Charlotta Islands, British Columbia. Dall mountain sheep horn, T0181

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