NEW ORLEANS: Ancestors and Descendants

Antelope Priests Shaking Rattles, 1901
Hand-colored glass lantern slide by Sumner W. Matteson
Middle American Research Institute/Tulane University

George Hubbard Pepper slide from around 1899
Middle American Research Institute/Tulane University

Portrait of Hopi Maiden with Hair Whorls, 1901
Hand-colored glass lantern slide by Sumner W. Matteson
Middle American Research Institute/Tulane University

Leisure Time at George Pepper's Tent
Hand-colored glass lantern slide
Middle American Research Institute/
Tulane University

"Ancestors and Descendants: Ancient Southwestern America at the Dawn of the 20th Century." Photography, Artifacts, and Archival Research from the George Hubbard Pepper Native American Archive.

The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) unveiled a little-known Native American archive this past week.
Ancestors and Descendants presents a rare opportunity to see a collection that was put together over one hundred years ago by George H. Pepper, a museum ethnologist and early collector and scholar of Native American art. The exhibition, curated by Paul J. Tarver NOMA’s Curator of Pre-Columbian and Native American Art and co-curated by Cristin J. Nunez, includes 140 photographs and 150 objects from Pepper's personal collection. Pepper used textiles, pottery, baskets and other Pueblo and Navajo objects in his lectures. Many of these objects have never been seen by the general public since 1924. "Even in his lifetime, Pepper could only display a handful of objects with a few dozen images he projected through a magic lantern," said Tarver, "This is the first time the breadth of the archive has been researched and displayed."

"In the New Orleans show, An entire gallery is devoted to his relics of snake dances, the Hopis’ prayers for rain. The museum catalog ($24.95) quotes his unpublished eyewitness accounts, which turned up in the Tulane paperwork. Hopi tribesmen would collect a hundred snakes at a time, and then priests would emit a “weird droning” over the “writhing twisting forms of the reptiles,” Pepper wrote. Priests used their teeth to carry the snakes and waved around feathers to distract them. “Snake maidens” showered cornmeal on the reptiles, which were then released “in the sacred earth-mouths in the rock,” Pepper reported." (from NY Times, July 22, 2010)

The New Orleans Museum of Art
July 24-October 24, 2010

1 comment:

Britney Anne Majure said...

Thanks Elizabeth for the info. We'll stop by soon!