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UBC/Museum of Anthropology

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  • UBC/Museum of Anthropology

    Recently, I spent an entire day in the University of British Columbia MOA.
    This has to be on the "bucket list" for every carver of wood, stone, bone or metals. You really owe it to yourselves to go there.
    The Rose Garden Parkade is right across the street, $14/day. As I parked, a car-load of carvers from Oregon parked next to me!
    For various reasons, I have searched the online collection of some 35,000(?) objects. Over time, that narrowed my interests to serving ladles/spoons, bent wood boxes (kerf-bent), feast bowls and carving tools, all from the Pacific Northwest native artists. Consequently, I spent little time in the Asian and Micronesian collections.
    Far too much to describe.
    Several things stand out in my mind.
    1. While the glass-fronted display cases contain many wondrous things, most of larger sizes, the bulk (80%?) of the collections is in the glass-topped sets of drawers right in front of you, beneath the showcases. Jewelry, tools, spoons, small carvings and so on. The MOA brochure fails to point that out. So, I spent most of my day pulling drawers!
    2. The flat photographic lighting for the online collection gives me no sense of the carving process. Seeing the real objects is pause for careful study.
    3. You must see the MASSIVE Bill Reid "The Raven and The First Men," done in a huge glueup of yellow cedar. Next, look at the exquisite original carving in one of the smaller cases against the wall. It is not quite the size of a grapefruit.
    = =
    I took no pictures at all. I sat on a folding camp stool with a sketchbook, drawing and making notes.
    Go there. Opens at 10AM. Good cafe', too.
    Brian T

  • #2
    Re: UBC/Museum of Anthropology

    What RV said. This is kid-in-a-candy-store calibre, especially for admirers of PNW art.

    Yes, certainly a plethora of artifacts... so many that they had some artifacts on the shelves behind others, due to lack of space. Masterpieces behind masterpieces.

    Raven and the First Men will take your breath away.

    Aside ... a trip to the Bill Reid Gallery is a must, as well. The Killer Whale in bronze...the Black Canoe... the jewelry...

    Carvito ergo sum.


    • #3
      Re: UBC/Museum of Anthropology

      Mind you, most is PacNW but there are collections from all around the world, too.
      The little 'train' of 45 gal feast bowls (WRC log pieces) in the Great Hall certainly made me rethink my piddly little carvings in WRC.
      Brian T


      • #4
        Re: UBC/Museum of Anthropology

        I googled and you can view much of it online. Not the same as being there, but if you know you're not's an option.


        • #5
          Re: UBC/Museum of Anthropology

          MOA online: I've used that resources quite a few times. Amazing, isn't it?
          That's what set my agenda of things to study when I knew I'd be visiting the MOA.
          I wanted to see if there was evidence of process = tool marks, etc.
          The lighting for the online things is quite flat = few shadows and 2D.
          3D and the oblique display spotlights is quite different.

          From a distance the big Bill Reid carving looks quite smooth. Up close, the entire surface has been finished with small and shallow adze marks. The uniformity of the evenness of the finish is a technical triumph of skill and determination.
          Brian T