30 nov 2010

Sotheby's Oceanic and African Art auction

Auction: Oceanic and African Art auction at Sotheby's Paris
Date:  30th November 2010, 4:00 PM
Sat, 27 Nov 10, 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sun, 28 Nov 10, 2:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Mon, 29 Nov 10, 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Place: Sotheby's Galerie Charpentier, 76, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris (France)
Webpage:  www.sothebys.com
Sotheby's African and Oceanic Art Department is based in New York and Paris with a European liaison at Sotheby's London offices at Bond Street and representation in other Sotheby's offices around the world. Sotheby's is the only international auction house in the world with full-time departments devoted exclusively to these highly specialized collecting areas. 
The market for African and Oceanic art is international, with private collections, museums, institutions and dealers as buyers and sellers from across the United States, Europe, and Asia taking part in Sotheby's auctions. Sotheby's sales feature works made in the early 20th century or earlier for ritual or ceremonial use within the traditional cultures of sub-Saharan Africa, Australia, Melanesia, Polynesia, Micronesia and Indonesia including masks, figurative sculpture, architectural fragments, amulets and jewelry, ancient metal work, and functional objects such as furniture, houseposts, terracotta and wooden vessels, staffs, and some weapons. 
The African and Oceanic Art auctions are held bi-annually in New York, generally in May and November during the highly exciting period when Contemporary art is on view and sold in New York. A week-long preview precedes each auction. In 2006, Sotheby's Paris auctions will enter the fifth year, and are held on a bi-annual basis, with a preview open to the public in our historic offices on the rue du Faubourg St. Honoré. In both categories, our sales feature works at a wide range of values, from 5,000USD to more than 1,000,000USD in New York and from €1000 to more than €1,000,000 in Paris. A fully illustrated scholarly catalogue in English accompanies each auction in New York and a bi-lingual catalog in French and English is prepared for each Paris auction.

28 nov 2010

The Mask Dance of the Drums from Drametse

The mask dance of the Drametse community is a sacred dance performed during the Drametse festival in honour of Padmasambhava, a Buddhist guru. The festival, which takes place in this eastern Bhutanese village twice a year, is organized by the Ogyen Tegchok Namdroel Choeling Monastery.
The dance features sixteen masked male dancers wearing colourful costumes and ten other men making up the orchestra. The dance has a calm and contemplative part that represents the peaceful deities and a rapid and athletic part where the dancers embody wrathful deities. Dancers dressed in monastic robes and wearing wooden masks with features of real and mythical animals perform a prayer dance in the soeldep cham, the main shrine, before appearing one by one in the main courtyard. The orchestra consists of cymbals, trumpets and drums, including the bang nga, a large cylindrical drum, the lag nga, a small hand-held circular flat drum and the nga chen, a drum beaten with a bent drumstick.
The Drametse Ngacham has been performed in the same monastery for centuries. Its form has both religious and cultural significance, because it is believed to have originally been performed by the heroes and heroines of the celestial world. In the nineteenth century, versions of the Drametse Ngacham were introduced in other parts of Bhutan. For the audience, the dance is a source of spiritual empowerment and is attended by people from Drametse as well as neighbouring villages and districts to obtain blessings. Today, the dance has evolved from a local event centred on a particular community into an art form, representing the identity of the Bhutanese nation as a whole.
Although the dance is highly appreciated among all generations, the number of practitioners is dwindling due to lack of rehearsal time, the absence of a system for training and the gradual waning of interest among young people.
Inscribed in 2008 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (originally proclaimed in 2005)

© Text and images: UNESCO

27 nov 2010

Native american art auction

Auction: Native american art
Date:  6th December 2010, 1 pm
Preview: December 3-6
Place: Bonhams, 220 San Bruno Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94103 (US)
Contact:  Jim Haas jim.haas@bonhams.com

26 nov 2010

Weaving heritage

Exhibition: Weaving Heritage: Textile Masterpieces from the Burke Collection
Saturday October 2, 2010 to Sunday February 27, 2011
Place: The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture,
Admission:  $9.50 general admission, open daily 10 am to 5 pm
About the exhibition:
The first major exhibition of the museum's international textile collection, will display textile masterpieces from the peoples of the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific Islands.
The Burke Museum, this year celebrating its 125th anniversary, has been collecting international textiles for over a century and holds a permanent collection of over 2,000 hand-woven pieces. The Burke textile collection has been widely used for research, but most of these works have never before been on public display. In Weaving Heritage, for the first time, 130 of the most beautifully designed and culturally significant textile masterpieces from the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific Islands will be displayed at the museum.
Weaving Heritage provides museum visitors with a rare opportunity to see outstanding examples of traditional textile arts from Indonesia, Micronesia, Japan, Mexico, Guatemala, China, Tibet, the Philippines, Southeast Asia, Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, and Native American tribal groups including the Salish, Tlingit, Haida, Navajo, and Hopi.
Textiles are complemented with examples of traditional looms, weaving tools, and touchable materials. A hands-on area allows visitors to try simple weaving activities, handle fiber samples, and learn about weaving techniques through video and other resources.
For many thousands of years, people all over the world have woven animal and plant fibers into cloth. Hand-woven textiles are closely identified with cultural identity, ethnic pride, technical artistic mastery, and community history. However, in the past 150 years, factors such as the introduction of cheap, machine-made textiles, changes in the availability of traditional materials, the influence of foreign fashions, and economic and political strife in many nations have threatened the survival of hand-woven textile traditions.
In recent decades, some communities have witnessed a resurgence of their weaving heritage, as national governments provide support for training programs, microcredit and financing programs encourage small business development, and community weaving associations use the Internet to market their textiles and reach an international clientele.

© Text and image: The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture

24 nov 2010

Raven's Tail Bag

Name: Raven’s Tail Bag
Origin: South-East Alaska
Date: contemporary
Museum: Sheldon Jackson Museum, Sitka (Alaska)
Materials: wool of mountain goat
A Raven’s Tail bag made by Teri Rofkar is the Sheldon Jackson Museum’s Artifact of the Month for November. The bag, part of the museums Hands-on collection, is made with deer skin, white sheep’s wool, brown buffalo wool, yellow-green dyed wool, and trimmed with sea otter fur. The weaving in the center is “Shadow in Trees” pattern. Rofkar, a Tlingit weaver from Sitka has been weaving Raven’s Tail robes, and spruce root and cedar bark baskets for many years.
Although contemporary art is not, as a rule, collected for the museum’s permanent collection, a Raven’s tail bag has been on the wish list for many years. It will be of great value for the museum’s education collection, for use with school groups, and an example of modern regalia based on ancient techniques and materials. Each November the museum exhibits of one its Native American objects to highlight the diversity of Native cultures of North America in recognition of National American Indian Heritage and Alaska Native Heritage Month.
Raven’s Tail, also identified as “Northern Geometric weaving” is one of the oldest forms of weaving by the Tlingit. Thigh spun warps and weft strands of wool from mountain goat make up the textile. These bags were used as medicine bags, ceremonial clan regalia, and dance bags worn over the shoulder and resting at the hip. The Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum donated the Raven’s Tail bag to the museum’s Hands-on Collection after facilitating an exchange with Rofkar of Tlingit basketry materials which they had purchased.
The Raven’s Tail Bag can be seen at the Sheldon Jackson Museum November 2 through November 30. Winter hours are Tuesday through

© Photo and text: Sheldon Jackson Museum

22 nov 2010

Korean Kalbi ribs

Galbi or kalbi generally refers to a variety of gui or grilled dishes in Korean cuisine that is made with marinated beef (or pork) short ribs in a ganjang-based sauce (Korean soy sauce). In the Korean language, galbi literally means "rib" and can often indicate uncooked ribs. In addition, the dish's full name is galbi gui, although "gui" (grilling) is commonly omitted to refer to it.
Galbi is generally made with beef ribs, and it may be called "sogalbi" (소갈비) or "soegalbi" (쇠갈비). Prefix "so" or "soe" (beef) is often omitted. It is also called bulgalbi when grilled over fire. As the literal meaning is "rib", galbi dishes can also be made with pork ribs or chicken. In such cases, the dish is called "dwaeji galbi" (돼지갈비) or "dak galbi" (닭갈비) to emphasize the main ingredient.
The ingredients (often, ribs or meats) are marinated in a sauce made primarily from Korean soy sauce, garlic, and sugar. However, several variations on the marinade exist including recipes that utilize sesame oil, rice wine or hot pepper paste. Fruit juice, lemon-lime soda and honey have become more common additions to Korean marinades in recent years, and is present in some incarnations of the dish.
When cooked on a griddle or grill, the meat is usually cut in thin slices across the bones and called lateral axis (L.A.) Galbi. This permits the marinade to penetrate the meat faster, allows the meat to cook more quickly, creates a more tender cut, and makes it easier to eat the finished dish with chopsticks. Traditional cut is call Wang Galbi, literally meaning King Ribs. In this version, ribs are into 2 to 5 inch segments, and the meat is filleted in layers away from the bone to form a uniformly thin layer. Wang Galbi is usually what is served in restaurants, as it is the traditional cut and hence considered more genuine. Rarely, if ever, are L.A. Galbi served at top establishments. Pre-cut galbi is available from many meat markets in Korea and elsewhere.
Galbi is generally served in restaurants known as "galbi houses", and the meat is cooked right at customers' tables on grills set in the tables (usually by the customers themselves). It is typically served with lettuce, perilla, or other leafy vegetables used to wrap the meat, which is then dipped in ssamjang (쌈장), a sauce made of fermented bean paste and red pepper paste. It is often accompanied by side dishes known as banchan.
In Korea, galbi is also a popular picnic food, and many people have portable gas or charcoal stoves for cooking it outside.
Many Korean dishes incorporate with ribs, including soups and stews. Some restaurants serve "pork galbi", and chicken galbi is a popular specialty of the Chuncheon region.
Galbitang is a clear soup containing pieces of galbi. Galbi jjigae is a thick stew with many large pieces of galbi, usually single bone cuts, which may also contain red peppers, green peppers, kimchi, and doenjang (Korean bean paste). Galbi Jjim is short ribs braised in sweet soysauce based sauce.

  • 4 pounds beef short ribs
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 5 green onions, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2-1/2 cups water
How to cook it
Trim the ribs of excess fat. Score the top surface of the ribs in
a diamond pattern. In a container or plastic bag large enough to hold the ribs, mix together the garlic, ginger, green onions, 3 tablespoons of the sesame seeds, sherry, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar and a generous grating of pepper. Add the ribs and coat thoroughly with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours,
preferably overnight.
To cook the ribs, heat the peanut oil in a heavy pot or flameproof casserole large enough to accommodate the ribs. Brown the ribs, then push the ribs to one side and brown the onions and carrots in the same pot. Stir in the marinade and the water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer, with the lid slightly ajar, for 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. To finish the dish, remove the lid and boil until the sauce gets a syrup-like consistency. Serve the ribs with the glazed sauce and the remaining sesame seeds on top.

© Text and image: Wikipedia / Recipe: www.world-recipes.info  

20 nov 2010


Title: Mandabi
Director: Ousmane Sembène
Writer: Ousmane Sembène
Year: 1968
Running time: 92 minutes
Country: Senegal and France
Plot summary:
The film is about an unemployed African man, Ibrahima (Makhouredia Gueye), who lives with his two wives and kids. A nephew of his sends him a money order from France worth 25,000 Francs which he has saved from working as a street sweeper. He is to keep some of the money for himself, save a portion for his nephew, and give a portion to his sister. However, Ibrahima faces numerous difficulties with the Senegalese bureaucracy in trying to cash the money order. He deals with corruption, greed, problematic family members, the locals and the changing from his traditional way of living to a more modern one. The film explores themes of neocolonialism, religion, corruption, and relationships in Senegalese society.

© Text and photo: Wikipedia

18 nov 2010

The Shangaan of Mozambique

Name: Shangaan
Living Area: Mozambique
Population: ?
Language: Xitsonga
The Shangaan once ruled the Gaza Empire, created by Soshangane, whose capital was based in Mossurize on the present-day border with Zimbabwe, and whose name is until today wrongly used to refer to the Tsonga people, because of Soshangane's rule of a small group of the Tsonga people. The Gaza Empire comprised parts of what is now south-eastern Zimbabwe, as well as extending from the Save River down to the southern part of Mozambique, covering parts of the current provinces of Sofala, Manica, Inhambane, Gaza and Maputo in Mozambique; and parts South Africa. Soshangaane moved the capital from Mossurize to Gaza Province. After his death, his son Muzila came into power and after Muzila came Ngungunhane, who was imprisoned by the Portuguese in Mandlakazi (now called Manjacaze in Gaza Province in Mozambique) in 1895.
The original "Shangaans" took their name from the Zulu warrior Soshangane. Initially, the Shangaans, all Zulus, conquered some of the Tsonga people as they moved northward. Soshangane at his zenith established a large empire known as the Gaza empire which stretched from as far north as the Chipinge area in modern day Zimbabwe, southward to modern day Gaza province in Mozambique. With time, the Tsonga subjects became known as "mashangane" or "machangane". With the arrival or the Europeans, and more so with the initiative to divide the various bantu ethnic groups during Apartheid, the Tsonga were referred to primarily as Shangaan. The Tsonga themselves did not object to this as the Tsonga people were not a homogenous ethic group and hence did not have a word in their language to designate either themselves or their language. The term "Tsonga" to designate the Tsonga people is a more recent phenomenon and has gained much wider acceptance among the people

Well-known by: their electronic dance music
The Shangaan people living along the Limpopo River in South Africa have recently gained a significant amount of attention for their low-tech, lo-fi electronic dance music. Shangaan electro has been pioneered by South African producer 'Dog.'

© Text and images: Wikipedia

16 nov 2010

Tribal Art at Koller

Auction: Tribal Art at Koller
Date:  29 November 2010
Geneva: 8 to 12 November 2010 (highlights) 
Düsseldorf: 4/5 November 2010 (highlights)
Zurich: 20 to 28 November 2010
Place: Hardturmstrasse 102, Zürich (Switzerland)
Contact:  info@walu.ch (Galerie Walu, Zürich)
Since 2003, Koller Auctions has been holding auctions of tribal art in close collaboration with Jean David, specialist and owner of Galerie Walu in Zurich. Many important artists from the early 20th century, such as Picasso and Braque, E.L. Kirchner and Alberto Giacometti, Derain and Vlaminck, were inspired by sculptures from black Africa and owned collections themselves, some of them quite important.

14 nov 2010

The Oral Heritage of Gelede

The Gelede is performed by the Yoruba-Nago community that is spread over Benin, Nigeria and Togo. For more than a century, this ceremony has been performed to pay tribute to the primordial mother Iyà Nlà and to the role women play in the process of social organization and development of Yoruba society.
The Gelede takes place every year after the harvests, at important events and during drought or epidemics and is characterized by carved masks, dances and chants, sung in the Yoruba language and retracing the history and myths of the Yoruba-Nago people. The ceremony usually takes place at night on a public square and the dancers prepare in a nearby house. The singers and the drummers are the first to appear. They are accompanied by an orchestra and followed by the masked dancers wearing splendid costumes. There is a great deal of preparatory craftwork involved, especially mask carving and costume making. The performances convey an oral heritage that blends epic and lyric verses, which employ a good deal of irony and mockery, supported by satirical masks. Figures of animals are often used, such as the serpent, a symbol of power, or the bird, the messenger of the “mothers”. The community is divided into groups of men and women led by a male and a female head. It is the only known masked society, which is also governed by women. Although the Gelede has nowadays adapted to a more patriarchal society, the oral heritage and dances can be considered as a testimony of the former matriarchal order.
Technical development is resulting in a gradual loss of traditional know-how, and tourism is jeopardizing the Gelede by turning it into a folklore product. Nevertheless, the Gelede community shows great awareness of the value of their intangible heritage, which is reflected in the efforts put into the preparation work and in the growing number of participants.
Inscribed in 2008 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (originally proclaimed in 2001)

© Text and images: UNESCO

12 nov 2010

Native North American Footwear

Exhibition: Beauty, Identity, Pride: Native North American Footwear
Permanent exhibition
Place: The Bata shoe Museum, 327 Bloor St. W, Toronto (Canada)
Admission:  $14
About the exhibition:
Created by Indigenous peoples from diverse regions of North America, ninety pairs of shoes, boots and moccasins will showcase exquisite craftsmanship, regional patterns, and beautiful decoration. The exhibition features rarely seen artifacts chosen entirely from the Bata Shoe Museum's foremost and comprehensive collection of Native footwear.
A unique feature of the exhibition, Discovery Drawers allow visitors of all ages to learn, discover, and in some cases touch materials that amplify the content of the gallery. Your exhibition visit will be enhanced by a direct experience with the materials and artifacts:
Learn the origin of natural dyes and pigments in the American Southwest
Discover which fur trade items ended up on moccasins in the Northeast
Touch moosehair, caribou fur and a child's moccasin from the Subarctic.
You'd be surprised at the amount of variation in Native North American footwear. Our collection is one of the world's most extensive, and we've chosen some beautifully crafted examples which will change the way you think about moccasins! Here's a sampling of what's on view.
About the Museum:
The Museum's collections have grown over the years and now number over 12,500 artifacts: far too many to be all on display at once! In order to highlight different aspects of the collections, we offer three time-limited changing exhibitions as well as one semi-permanent exhibition.
© Text and image: The Bata Shoe Museum

10 nov 2010

Georgian wine vessel

Name: Georgian wine vessel
Origin: Tiflis (Georgia)
Date: Early 20th century
Museum: The Russian Museum of Ethnography
Dimensions: 30 cm high
Materials: coconut shell, silver
According to religious rules, etiquette and aesthetics of the Georgian feast, traditional utensils had to decorate the table. As a result, the utensils had not only utilitarian functions but also served as symbols and ethnic markers. Among vessels for the festivity, table jugs played the most important role.
According to their functions, wine vessels are divided into two types: individual - for each participant of the feast, and common - for table decoration. Common vessels as a rule were of anthropomorphic form. This can be explained by the fact that ancient ancestors considered wine vessel to be the keeper of secrets of the Universe, receptacle of man's soul. Sura and doki were the most spread among this type of vessels.
Individual wine vessels were also of different forms. Some of them were very small: they were used in the beginning of the feast when wine was consumed in small portions. Such vessels are called chinchilla and made in the shape of a small jug with a capacity of a glass. Karkara - is a bigger metal jug with a bent neck consisting of three interlaced tubes. Tasi and piala are hemispherical vessels with or without a tem. Kula has an original shape -it is a wooden, set in silver vessel that has a closed semispherical body from which at right angle long narrow neck goes. Khantsi and dzhikhvi are the most famous Georgian wine vessels. They are made in the shape of a horn, decorated with silver trims with rich decorations. Horns with capacity of several liters were used for drinking wine in the middle of the feast when a man demonstrating his endurance completely drained the horn.
Ornamentation on the metal vessels was often made in the technique of engraving and chasing. Among the most popular motifs there were flowers, fruit, leaves of the creepers, birds in the trees, animals. Quite often one could find images of realistic scenes participants of which were celebrating, dancing and playing traditional musical instruments. As a rule such images were framed with medallions and vignettes.

© Photos and text: The Russian Museum of Ethnography

8 nov 2010

Puerto Rican chicken with rice

Puerto Rican chicken with rice
• 3 1/2 lb. frying chicken, cut
• 1/2 c. onions, chopped
• 1/2 c. celery
• 1 c. Spanish olives, sliced (reserve the liquid)
• 1 small jar chopped pimientos
• 1 can peas and carrots with water
• 1 small can tomato sauce
• 1 1/2 c. rice
• 2 Tbsp. olive oil

How to cook it
Brown chicken pieces in olive oil and then drain. Saute onions,
celery and Spanish olives; add the browned chicken pieces.
Combine the rest of the ingredients. Cook slowly, covered, stirring
frequently because rice will stick. This delicious main course
is ready when the rice is fully cooked.

© Recipe: www.world-recipes.info  

6 nov 2010

Dersu Uzala


Title: Dersu Uzala
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Writer: Vladimir Arsenyev (book)
Year: 1975
Running time:  141 minutes
Country: Japan and Soviet Union

Plot summary for DERSU UZALA

The film is based on the 1923 memoir Dersu Uzala by Russian explorer Vladimir Arsenyev, about his exploration of the Sikhote-Alin region of Siberia over the course of multiple expeditions in the early 20th century.
The film is almost entirely shot outdoors in the ruggedly beautiful Siberian wilderness. As with most of Kurosawa's work, each frame is carefully composed to form a dramatic picture. The film explores the theme of a native of the forests who is fully integrated into his environment, leading a style of life that will inevitably be destroyed by the advance of civilization. It is also about the growth of respect and deep friendship between two men of profoundly different backgrounds, and about the difficulty of coping with the loss of strength and ability that comes with old age.
The film opens to a forest that is being cleared for development, and Arsenyev searching for an unmarked grave. The film then flashes back to Arsenyev's surveying expedition to the region in 1902, before the village was built. A topographic expedition troop, led by Captain Arsenyev (Yuri Solomin), encounters a nomadic, aboriginal Nanai tribesman named Dersu Uzala (Maxim Munzuk) who agrees to guide them through the harsh frontier. Initially viewed as an uneducated, eccentric old man, Dersu earns the respect of the soldiers through his great intelligence, accurate instincts, keen powers of observation, and deep compassion. He repairs an abandoned hut and leaves provisions in a birch container so that a future traveler would survive in the wilderness. He deduces the identities and situations of people by analyzing tracks and articles left behind.
Dersu Uzala saves the lives of Captain Arsenyev and one of his men not once, but twice. First, when a sudden blizzard overtakes Dersu and the Captain, Dersu shows Arsenyev how to quickly build a straw hut for shelter using tundra grass. The two men avoid freezing to death and are discovered by the rest of their comrades when the blizzard clears. Five years later in 1907, Dersu and Captain Arsenyev again find each other in the wilderness. When Dersu and Arsenyev fall into swift moving currents while crossing a river in a raft, Dersu forces Arsenyev to swim while the raft is close to shore then directs the party to cut a tree which can reach him before he drowns.
At the end of the expedition, he leaves the soldiers by the railroad tracks and returns to wilderness, only to encounter Arsenyev again, years later, on another surveying expedition. However, Dersu's eyesight and other senses begin to fade with age. Dersu is no longer able to hunt, and the Siberian tiger stalking the old man comes very close until Dersu shoots at the predator. Captain Arsenyev decides to take Dersu with him to the city of Khabarovsk. Dersu quickly discovers that he is not permitted to chop wood or to build a hut and fireplace in the city park, nor is he allowed to shoot within the city limits. The constables often bring Dersu back to the house, and one day he asks to leave the city and return to living in the hills. As a parting gift, Arsenyev gives him a new rifle.
Some while later, Arsenyev receives a telegram informing him that the body of a Goldi has been found, with no identification on him save Arsenyev's calling card, and is requested to come identify the body. Arsenyev finds that it is indeed Dersu. The officer who found Dersu speculates that someone may have killed Dersu to obtain the new rifle that Arsenyev gave him.
Dersu Uzala won the 1975 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

© Text and photo: Wikipedia

4 nov 2010

The Nanai of the Amur

Name: Nanai
Living Area: Amur Basin, Russia and China
Population: 18.000
Language: Nanai
The Nani people (self name нани/"Nani" means natives;self name "Hezhen" means people of the Orient; Russian: нанайцы, tr. "nanaitsy"; Chinese: 赫哲族, tr. "Hèzhézú"; formerly also known as Golds and Samagir) are a Tungusic people of the Far East, who have traditionally lived along Heilongjiang (Amur), Songhuajiang (Sunggari) and Ussuri rivers on the Middle Amur Basin. The ancestors of the Nanais were the Jurchens of northernmost Manchuria.
The Nanai/Hezhe language belongs to the Manchu-Tungusic branch of the Altai languages.
[Na] means native and [nai] means people in different dialects.
Some of the earliest first-hand accounts of the Nanai people in the European languages belong to the French Jesuit geographers travelling on the Ussury and the Amur in 1709. According to them, the native people living on the Ussury and on the Amur above the mouth of the Dondon River (which falls into the Amur between today's Khabarovsk and Komsomolsk-on-Amur) were known as Yupi Tartars (fish-skin tartars, see the Economy section below), while the name of the people living on the Dondon and on the Amur below Dondon was transcribed by the Jesuits into French as Ketching. The latter name may be the French transcription of the reported self-name of the Nanais of the lower Amur, [xədʑən], which was also applied to the closely related Ulch people.
According to the Jesuits, the language of the "Yupi" people seemed to occupy an intermediate position between the Manchu language and that of the "Ketching" people; some level of communication between the Yupi and the Ketching was possible.
The people would live in villages along the banks of the Ussuri, and would spend their entire summers fishing, eating fresh fish in the summer (particularly appreciating the sturgeon), and drying more fish for eating in winter. Fish would be used as fodder for those few domestic animals they had (which made the flesh of a locally raised pig almost inedible by visitors with European tastes).
The traditional clothing was made out of fish skins. These skins were left to dry. Once dry, they were struck repeatedly with a mallet to leave them completely smooth. Finally they were sewn together. The fish chosen to be used were those weighing more than 50 kilograms. In the past centuries, this distinct practice earned the Nanai the name "Fish-skin Tartars" (Chinese: 鱼皮鞑子, Yupi Dazi). This name has also been applied, more generically, to other aboriginal groups of he lower Sungari and lower Amur basins.
Agriculture entered the Nanai lands only slowly. Practically the only crop grown by the Yupi villagers on the Ussuri River shores in 1709 was some tobacco.
The Nanais are mainly Shamanist, with a great reverence for the bear (Doonta) and the tiger (Amba). They consider that the shamans have the power to expel bad spirits by means of prayers to the gods. During the centuries they have been worshipers of the spirits of the sun, the moon, the mountains, the water and the trees. According to their beliefs, the land was once flat until great serpents gouged out the river valleys. They consider that all the things of the universe possess their own spirit and that these spirits wander independently throughout the world. In the Nanai religion, inanimate objects were often personified. Fire, for example, was personified as an elderly woman whom the Nanai referred to as Fadzya Mama. Young children were not allowed to run up to the fire, since they might startle Fadzya Mama, and men always were courteous in the presence of a fire.
Nanai shamans, like other Tungusic peoples of the region, had characteristic clothing, consisting of a skirt and jacket; a leather belt with conical metal pendants; mittens with figures of serpents, lizards or frogs; and hats with branching horns or bear, wolf, or fox fur attached to it. Bits of Chinese mirrors were also sometimes incorporated into the costume.
The deceased were normally buried in the ground with the exception of children who died prior to the first birthday; in this case the child's body was wrapped in a cloth or birchbark covering and buried in the tree branches as a "wind burial". Many Nanai are also Tibetan Buddhist.

Well-known by: Dersu Uzala
Dersu was the name of a Nanai hunter (who lived c. 1850–1908) who acted as a guide for Vladimir Arsenyev's surveying crew from 1902 to 1907, and saved them from starvation and cold. Arsenyev, in his Dersu Uzala books, portrays him as a great man. From 1907, Arsenyev invited Dersu to live in his house in Khabarovsk as Dersu's failing sight hampered his ability to live as a hunter. In the spring of 1908, Dersu bade farewell to Arsenyev and walked back to his home in the Primorsky Krai, where he was killed. According to Arsenyev's book, Dersu Uzala was murdered near the town of Korfovskiy and buried in an unmarked grave in the taiga.

© Text and images: Wikipedia

2 nov 2010

Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie

Auction: Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie. Collections Lionel Sergent, Marcia & John Friede et divers amateurs
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 10, 6:00 PM
Sat, 27 Nov 10, 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sun, 28 Nov 10, 2:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Mon, 29 Nov 10, 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Tue, 30 Nov 10, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Place: Sotheby's Paris, Galerie Charpentier, 76 rue du Faubourg Saint Honore, Paris 75008 (FRANCE)
Webpage: www.sothebys.com
Marguerite de Sabran: Head of Department, Specialist, African and Oceanic Art
Tel: +33 1 53 05 53 35 
Patrick Caput: Senior Consultant, African and Oceanic Art
Tel: +33 1 53 05 53 15 
Alexis Maggiar: Specialist, African Art
Tel: +33 1 53 05 52 67 

Sotheby's opened its first French office in Paris in 1967. Today, the Sotheby's France team comprises more than 85 people, who work closely with the Monaco office, the representatives in Bordeaux, Lyon, Lille, Nantes, Marseille, Montpellier and Strasbourg, as well as other Sotheby's locations worldwide.
Since January 1998 the headquarters of Sotheby's France has been in the famous Galerie Charpentier on Rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré, opposite the Elysée Palace. This magnificent building, built during the Second French Empire and remodelled in the 1930s, was at the centre of Parisian artistic life for more than 40 years. The Paris saleroom was established mainly thanks to the tenacity of Laure de Beauvau Craon, who was named President and CEO of Sotheby's France in 1991.
Madame de Beauvau Craon set herself the mission of internationalising the French auction market and bringing an end to the 400-year-old monopoly of French auctioneers. In July 2000, the Sotheby's law was passed to do just that.
The Galerie Charpentier has been the venue for many wonderful sales, particularly collections for sale. These include Leroy (2002), Jammes (2002), Berès (2002 and 2003), Karl Lagerfeld (2003), Johnson (2003), Lescure (2004), Nahon (2004), Castaing (2004), Portago, Vanthournout and Zake (2006), Feinsiber (2006) and Leroy (2007).
Today, Sotheby's France organises 30 sales a year, focusing on major art fields such as Impressionist and Modern, Contemporary, African and Oceanic, Asian, and 20th-Century Decorative. Also represented are French classical art departments including Fine European Furniture and Works of Art, European Silver, Books and Manuscripts, Old Master and 19th-Century Paintings and Drawings.
In 2008, Sotheby's France became the number one auction house in France following growth of more than 30% from 2007.
Most departments enjoyed this growth, including the established market leaders such as Books and Manuscripts, African Art and Contemporary Art. In 2008 the average lot value of works of art sold by Sotheby's France reached 52,000 euros, a figure never before achieved. This is evidence of Sotheby's continued dedication to creating high-quality sales.
In addition to its renowned auctions, Sotheby's organises cocktail parties and dinners, and other cultural events such as exhibitions and lectures, in its elegant salerooms in Paris.
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