Laylah Ali (American, b. 1968), Untitled, 2004, (detail) gouache on paper, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, 05.3.2. (TL.2012.9)_x1200
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Tag Archives: ancient art

How did the cuneiform objects get here?

Ancient

As with our pieces from the Bolles-Rogers family and John Davis Hatch, sometimes the story behind how objects came into the museum’s collection or life events of the donors can be very interesting. Dr. John Henry Haynes donated to the museum thirty-six Mesopotamian clay objects with cuneiform inscriptions.

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Cosmetics & Fashion in the Ancient Collection

A couple of summers ago, our Williams student intern Chelsea Church ’12 helped me move artwork as part of our IMLS funded ancient art digitization project.  She got very excited about many of the fashion accessory items, especially the ancient Greek gold jewelry. She got so excited in fact, that she ran up to the museum’s PR department so that she could show her friend, who was also working as an intern, just how beautiful these pieces were. As we…

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Love & Romance

As Valentine’s Day approaches, we can look to the museum’s collection for portrayals of love and romance. Some of my personal favorites include: “La Declaration d’amour” by Jean François de Troy (circa 1724), Robert Indiana’s “Love” series (1982), and a Peruvian ceramic blackware entitled “Two Lovers” (19th century). I also find the photograph “Le Muguet du metro” (1953)  by Robert Doisneau interesting because while it seems romantic that the woman is holding a bouquet of flowers, the couple’s relationship looks very…

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Food and Family

As Thanksgiving rapidly approaches our thoughts turn to food and family. If you search our collection database using the term “food” under the quick search, you can find a variety of objects. We have World War I posters that warn against wasting food. We have a rice harvesting tool from Vietnam. We have a color, Farm Security Administration photograph of women slicing pies.  We also have a small terracotta of a woman baking bread in an oven, which is from Boeotia,…

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Mummified Hand

Just in time for Halloween we have the mystery of the mummified hand. How did it become separated from its arm? How did such an object become part of our collection? What does the museum do with it? What kind of condition is a hand in that is likely thousands of years old?

As to the first question, the object was brought into the collection by Professor Richard Austin Rice. Rice was a professor at Williams College from 1881-1911. According to…

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Bringing Pottery Sherds to Life

When we started working on our Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) ancient art digitization grant a couple of years ago, we began to research some objects that came into the museum with very little information, often with no date or culture to speak of. Laura Lesswing, Williams Art History Graduate class of 2010, was a big help to me. We reviewed the curatorial files for leads on information about the objects. In the file for a group of…

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