Saturday, January 7, 2017

Maori meeting house wall, Field Museum, Chicago

In a great room on the upper floor of the Field Museum in Chicago stands a Maori sacred meeting house. It has actually been in Chicago longer than the museum itself, having been imported in anticipation of the museum's completion, and though it began as a typical act of Victorian-era anthropological exploitation, it has now apparently transmuted into a positive point of cultural cultural exchange, with an active relationship between the museum, the community that originally housed it (and which has long ago built a new meeting house), and the local Native American community as well. This fierce figure with the gleaming shell-interior eyes is just one of many unique and individual faces covering the interior and exterior of the building, representing a particular ancestor of one of the builders of this structure, apparently a warrior based on the fierce visage and stuck-out tongue.