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Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian

Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian

October 23, 2010 – Permanent

Museum: American Indian Museum New York

Location: South Gallery

This exhibition of some 700 works of Native art from throughout North, Central, and South America demonstrates the breadth of the museum's renowned collection and highlight the historic importance of many of these iconic objects.

Chosen to illustrate the geographic and chronological scope of the museum's collection, Infinity of Nations opens with a display of headdresses. Signifying the sovereignty of Native nations, these works include a magnificent Kayapo krok-krok-ti, a macaw-and-heron-feather ceremonial headdress.

Focal-point objects, representing each region, include an Apsaalooke (Crow) robe illustrated with warriors' exploits; a detailed Mayan limestone bas relief depicting a ball player; an elaborately beaded Inuit tuilli, or woman's inner parka, made for the mother of a newborn baby; a Mapuche kultrung, or hand drum, depicting the cosmos; a carved and painted chief's headdress, depicting a killer whale with a raven emerging from its back, created and worn by Willie Seaweed (Kwakwaka'wakw); an anthropomorphic Shipibo joni chomo, or water vessel from Peru; a Chumash basket decorated with a Spanish-coin motif; an ancient mortar from Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon, N.M.; a gourd carved with a detailed picture of the Battle of Arica by Mariano Flores Kananga (Quechua); and an early Anishinaabe man's outfit complete with headdress, leggings, shirt, sash, and jewelry. The exhibition concludes with works by Native artists including Allan Houser (Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache) and Rick Bartow (Mad River Wiyot).

More Information

Online Exhibition