Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Two National Collections do good

Over the past several weeks a number of friends have commented on the interest and high quality in the mapping exhibition at the National Library.  In addition, the Summer blockbusta at the National Gallery seemed very good.  So it was time to have a look at them.

It was not permitted to take images in the exhibition but the NGA has got some images on their  site, and to save you travelling there I have snipped a few bits and pieces.

This is a vessel with two spouts.
 A selection of the educational material on the website
 This is the handle of a knife used for sacrifices: it seemsto be the big ticket image of the exhibition.
Photography was permitted in the 'family room" at the exhibition.  This is where people can take their kids to 'learn by doing'.  It was great fun.
 One of the activities was weaving.
You can see there are some feathers in this.  One of the exhibits included some yellow feathers which, in that culture were obtaind by plucking a live bird and then coating it with 'toad secretions'.  As the feathers regrew they came out yellow.  One presumes there wasn't a Pre-Columbian form of PETA speaking for the birds (or, come to that, the toads).

On the subject of secretions in one part of the exhibition some of the jugs were rather adult-oriented, especially regarding what the emitted liquid represented.  Another patron commented that one of the male jugs was clearly enjoying himself.  A wall card discussed the cultural importance of this but included the very perceptive comment "Alternative theories suggest that these ceramics are simply humourous...."

Overall a very good show, although I found the title "Gold and the Incas" rather strange since very little of the material was about the Incas and nearly all their gold was stolen by the naughty European colonisers.  The previous civilisations had conveniently hidden much gold in their graves from whence modern archaeologists had found it.  It was also intriguing that some of the earlier cultures had lasted for several hundred years while the Incas only ruled for less than 200.  However, the punters know about the Incas.

Leaving the building I found that the Sculpture Garden had been thoroughly gravelled.  It is good to see that the NGA has sufficient funds for such enterprises.  I am not sure that sandal wearers would find the good side quite so readily.
Getting towards the National Library it was clear that the Plane trees were voting on the weather with abscission layers.  This is normally the scene in April not January!
Here is the NLA great big poster for the exhibition.
 There were a lot of folk at the exhibition.  Again photos weren't allowed - fair enough with these fragile documents - and they don't have samples on the website.  It is a pity they don't have the replicas of the Harrison clocks (used in measuring longitude) as they were magnificent.

The bookshop area has been redesigned and greatly improved.  Neither Frances nor I could remember the stained glass being so visible.
Heading back towards the NGA and our car the vista was rather spiffy.
When one gets past the grassy knoll (not haunted by any snipers that we noticed) another vista opens up.
That leads to the question of "Why is this grassy knoll in the way of the two vistas becoming one?".  The answer will undoubtedly involve post-modern waffle from the National Capital Authority so it is probably best to not go there.

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