Sunday, May 5, 2013

Bowers Museum

A trip to Bowers Museum.

The special exhibit this month is the Gems of Medici collection.  The Medici's were a powerful family whose power and collections span several centuries starting around 1410ad.

I don't have any pictures of that collection as camera's were not permitted.  The collection has a ton of cameo's and gems.  Metal plates with carvings, busts and stone carvings with intricate detail.  A video explaining the work that goes into creating these tiny but intricate cameo's and reliefs was enlightening.    A craftsman takes a drawing, then creates a wax carving, then a plaster mold is taken, then a piece of glass is melted into the mold and when it cools a glass cameo has been created.

A similar process is used to carve stone cameo's.  It starts with a drawing, then a wax carving.  The wax carving is used as the stone is carved.   The craftsman has tools that help him measure and compare his stone carving with the wax carving.  Once the carving is done it is polished until the stone shines.

We also saw a scrimshaw exhibit, a Chinese exhibit and an exhibit of Indonesia and other island nations.

The scrimshaw is beautiful.  I love the detail.  Check out the scrimshaw swift:

Can you see the tiny threads holding the pieces of bone together?  The work is incredible.  Can you imagine getting to use a swift like this?

This is a very large piece.  The ship has been carved into the side of the bone and then stained.

Take a look at the rigging:

The Chinese exhibit had a few robes with embroidery:

An even closer look:

The Asian Islands exhibit has wood carvings and a lot of jewelry.

This mask has something to do with the Fire dance.  Something that women and children were not permitted to see or hear.

I have no comment about this one.  Not sure what they are trying to portray...

Look closely-that is a necklace made of teeth.  Human teeth.  Yuck.

This is on a bench in the garden's outside the museum.  

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