Friday, 7 January 2011

Musee du quai Branly

In a stunning building designed by Jean Nouvel, this parisienne museum offers an innovative and diverse look at non-Western cultures allowing you a visual feast and highly informative tour of Oceania, Asia, Africa and the Americas. You really could spend hours upon hours pouring through the exceptional display of masks, costumes, instruments and textiles.

Bridal veil, early 20th century, North Africa.

This intricately embroidered silk bridal veil demonstrated exquisite skill and beauty. Although aesthetically impressive its symbolic connotations are equally as important. The embroidery is representational of birds, probably doves and fish. These both symbolize protection and fertility which are often associated with marriage. The veil would be worn by a bride on her wedding day.

Within the area depicting Ocenia, I was particularly fond of the aboriginal artworks as the patterns were extensively detailed and mesmerizing.

The linear marks within this last pattern add movement and energy to the image. This reminds me of the animated nature of my fishing flies and I too would like to draw them in a way which adds movement and excitement.

As well as their stunning patterns, I was suprised to discover that many were painted on the smooth interior of flattened bark. Originally only considered to be an interesting indigenous handicraft for instructional and ceremonial purposes, it is only relatively recently, since the 1980's that bark paintings have been considered 'fine art'. Contemporary artists such as john Mawurndjul (see below) continue to use this unusual choice of material.

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