21 Masterworks from the Greater Pacific Rim at Weltmuseum Wien

 

Detail of Batik Cloth | Kain Panjang | Cirebon, Java | Mid 19th Century
© KHM-Museumsverband

 
 
 

21 Masterworks from the Greater Pacific Rim at Weltmuseum Wien

 

Curated by Steven G. Alpert

 
 

For March's final feature, Art of the Ancestors visits the Weltmuseum Wien in Austria. This venerable institution was under renovation from 2014 until being reopened and rebranded under its present name in 2017. 

Displayed here is a curated array of masterworks from Weltmuseum's estimable collection of ethnographic art. This panorama of Pacific Rim material begins with rare works from Insular Southeast Asia, followed by Oceanic, Polynesian and Northwest Coast masterpieces that include items collected by Captain Cook from Tonga, Hawaii and Nootka Sound on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The Mesoamerican material presents us with iconic items, including several examples of fantastic feather work, that were among some of the earliest New World cultural items to reach Europe. The feature concludes its' impressive geographical sweep by returning to Siberia in Asia. 

 
 
 

1

 
 

Javanese Figure | Wayang Klitik

 

Javanese Figure | Wayang Klitik | 16th Century
© KHM-Museumsverband

 
 

This artifact is known to have been incorporated into the kunstkammer of Emperor Rudolf that was assembled between 1607 and 1611. 

It is a masterful Javanese wayang klitik puppet of Yudhistra, the eldest of the 5 Pandavas from the Hindu epic the Mahabharata. 

Date:
16th Century

Collection:
Insular Southeast Asia

 
 
 

2

 
 

Batik Cloth | Kain Panjang | Cirebon, Java

 

Batik Cloth | Kain Panjang | Cirebon, Java | Mid 19th Century
© KHM-Museumsverband

Hand drawn batik sarong on cotton from North Coast Java. Collected in 1883.

 

Inventory #:
17985

Date:
Mid-19th Century

Collection:
Insular Southeast Asia

 
 
 
 

3

 
 

Balinese Sculpture | Singa Ambara Raja

Balinese Sculpture | Singa Ambara Raja | 19th Century
© KHM-Museumsverband

Protective figure of a royal mythical beast from Bali, Indonesia.

 

Inventory #:
130570

Date:
19th Century

Collection:
Insular Southeast Asia

 
 
 

4

 
 

Nias Forked Ancestor Figure | Adü Horo

Nias Forked Ancestor Figure | Adü Horo | Before 1893
© KHM-Museumsverband

 
 

Wooden forked ancestor figure from Nias, Indonesia. Collected before 1893.

 

Inventory #:
104738

Date:
Before 1893

Collection:
Insular Southeast Asia

 
 

5

 
 

Batak Medicine Horn | Naga Marsarang

 

Batak Medicine Horn | Naga Marsarang | 19th Century
© KHM-Museumsverband

Datu's medicine horn container, wood, buffalo horn and twined cordage.
Toba Batak people. North Sumatra, Indonesia. Accessioned in 1914.

 
 
 

Inventory #:
90884

Date:
19th Century

Collection:
Insular Southeast Asia

 
 

6

 
 

Moluccan Poreka Banner | Uplera Haire, Kairenanu

 

Moluccan Poreka Banner | Uplera Haire, Kairenanu | Before 1893
© KHM-Museumsverband

 
 

Large banner or flag that was flown to announce a Porka festival on Leti in Eastern Indonesia. Made of cotton, imported wool trade cloth, hair, iron, leather, and mother of pearl inlays. Collected in 1893. 

 

Inventory #:
106811

Date:
Before 1893

Collection:
Insular Southeast Asia

 
 

7

 
 

Moluccan Ancestor Figures | Luli & Lairliante

Moluccan Ancestor Figures | Lairliante & Luli | 1892
© KHM-Museumsverband

Shrine figure of holy first woman and a male ancestor figure from Leti, Eastern Indonesia. Acquired in 1892.

 

Inventory #:
106982 & 106988

Date:
1892

Collection:
Insular Southeast Asia

 
 
 

8

 
 

Papuan Neck Rest | Karik

 

Papuan Neck Rest | Karik | 1907
© KHM-Museumsverband

Neckrest or wooden pillow in the form of a fleshy, fecund female figure.  Sepik River, Papua New Guinea. Collected in 1907.

 
 
 

Inventory #:
76354

Date:
1907

Collection:
Oceania and Australia

 
 
 

9

 
 
 

New Britain Shield

 

New Britain Shield | 1884
© KHM-Museumsverband

 

Bold anthropomorphic shield decorated with colorful pigments, rattan bindings and feathers from New Britain. 
Collected in 1884. Accessioned 1908.

 

Inventory #:
84288

Date:
1884

Collection:
Oceania and Australia

 

10

 
 

Huon Gulf House Post with the Image of a Woman named Jäbogenga

Huon Gulf House Post with the Image of a Woman named Jäbogenga | 1907
© KHM-Museumsverband

 
 
 

Collected in 1905.

Inventory #:
77110

Date:
1907

Collection:
Oceania and Australia

 
 
 

11

 
 
 

Solomon Islands Shield

 

Solomon Islands Shield | Around 1858
© KHM-Museumsverband

 

Solomon Islands shield composed of wickerwork, wood, plaiting, ocher, thick pigmentation and inlaid mother of pearl.
Collected in 1858.

 

Inventory #:
3859

Date:
Around 1858

Collection:
Oceania and Australia

 

12

 
 

Ivory Female Figure | Ta Maka Fakamanatu Lei

Ivory Female Figure | Ta Maka Fakamanatu Lei | Circa 1777
© KHM-Museumsverband

Small female ivory figure fashioned from a whale's tooth from Tonga Islands.
Collected by Captain Cook in 1777.
Accessioned in 1806.

 
 
 

Inventory #:
146

Date:
Circa 1777

Collection:
Oceania and Australia

 
 

13

 

Feather Bust of a Hawaiian God | Ki’i Hulu Manu

 

Feather Bust of a Hawaiian God | Ki’i Hulu Manu | 1779
© KHM-Museumsverband

 
 
 

Large feathered fiber effigy figure of a Hawaiian god. Collected by Captain Cook in 1789.

 

Inventory #:
202

Date:
1779

Collection:
Oceania and Australia

 
 

14

 
 

Hawaiian Ladle with Human Figure

Hawaiian Ladle with Human Figure | 1778
© KHM-Museumsverband

Hawaiian ceremonial ladle with figurative handle. 
Collected by Captain Cook in 1769.

 
 
 

Inventory #:
175

Date:
1778

Collection:
Oceania and Australia

 
 

15

 
 

Aztec Feather Headdress

 

Aztec Feather Headdress | Early 16th Century
© KHM-Museumsverband

Moctezuma II’s Headdress fashioned from sacred Quetzal feathers and gold.
Formerly in the Hapsburg's Ambras castle.

Date:
Early 16th Century

Collection:
North and Central America Collection

 
 
 

16

 
 

Mesoamerican Sacred Being | Ñuhu

 

Mesoamerican Sacred Being | Ñuhu | Circa 1500
© KHM-Museumsverband

 
 

A carved and inlaid sacred being. 
Querétaro, Mexico.
Ex-collection of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor.

 

Inventory #:
12585

Date:
Circa 1500

Collection:
North and Central America

 
 

17

 
 

Mesoamerican Feathered Shield with Coyote

 

Mesoamerican Feather Shield with Coyote | Circa 1500
© KHM-Museumsverband

Serpent and coyote feathered shield composed of gold plate, cane, leather, and rare feathers. Formerly in the Hapsburg's Ambras castle.

 
 
 

Inventory #:
43380

Date:
Circa 1500

Collection:
North and Central America

 
 

18

 
 

Mesoamerican Mirror Frame as Monkey’s Head

 

Mesoamerican Mirror Frame as Monkey’s Head | Circa 1500
© KHM-Museumsverband

 
 

Obsidian glass mirror frame in the form of a monkey's head.
Puebla, Mexico.

 

Inventory #:
59253

Date:
Circa 1500

Collection:
North and Central America

 
 

19

 
 

Mesoamerican God of Music, Dance, & Games | Macuilxóchitl (5 Flowers)

 

Mesoamerican God of Music, Dance, & Games | Macuilxóchitl (5 Flowers) | Circa 1500
© KHM-Museumsverband

 
 

Rare wooden rendering of the God of music, games, and dance.
Puebla, Mexico.

 

Inventory #:
59366

Date:
Circa 1500

Collection:
North and Central America

 
 

20

 
 

Nootka Mask

 

Nootka Mask | Before 1778
© KHM-Museumsverband

Ceremonial dancing mask.
Nootka people of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
Collected in 1778.

 
 
 

Inventory #:
223

Date:
Before 1778

Collection:
North and Central America

 
 

21

 
 

Siberian Shaman’s Drum

 

Siberian Shaman’s Drum | Before 1931
© KHM-Museumsverband

Siberian shaman's drum with a carved effigy head on the reverse supported by two transporting spirit arms. Collected in 1931.

 

Inventory #:
123836

Date:
Before 1931

Collection:
North Africa, Middle East, Central Asia and Siberia

 
 
 

All artworks and images presented in this feature are the property of Weltmuseum Wien. 
© KHM-Museumsverband