Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Humanity Morphed

This trip took me to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. With over 5,000 years of human artwork packed into one building, finding an encompassing idea was at first glance a daunting prospect. After a few galleries of different cultures and a variety of objects I found myself approaching those objects which altered the human form in some distinct way. The purpose of the objects could all be radically different, from a full body costume to a small dagger. However each object that drew my interest has the same recurring idea, that each was a tool by which the natural human form was altered to fit a need or solve a problem. The objects are sometimes drastically distinct in physical appearance from one another, but share the fact they temporarily alter human physical appearance or faculty. These objects were from across all cultures and geography. To me, masks, costumes, weapons and armor as extensions of a human being are like prosthetic devices. Each of the objects provides a unique solution to fundamental human limitations, thereby extending and enlarging actual human capability or perceived power. Human beings have been ingenious in changing their external features through masks and costumes, as well as demonstrating physical prowess through weapons and armor. I chose these pieces for the exhibit because I am intrigued by the creative way the human form is altered. This exhibition spans the entire second millennium, containing traditional weaponry and armor, and ceremonial mask and costumes from all around the world. I would like the viewers to come away with a sense of the different ways that the human body is transformed throughout cultures and history. I would like for each person to envision themselves wearing or using these pieces, in order to experience and augmented reality.

"Armor of the Gusoku type"
Bamen Tomotsugu
18th century 
Arms and Armor

"Armor of Henry II of France"Circa 1555 
Arms and Armor

"Body Mask (Det)"Mid-20th century 
Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas

"Goat Mask (Je)"19th–20th century 
Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas

"Sea Bear Mask"
Late 19th century 
Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas

"Mummy Mask of Khonsu"
Circa 1279–1213 B.C.
Egyptian Art

Hunting Knife, Sharpener, and Sheath
Workshop of Louis Marcy
Circa 1880–1900 
Medieval Art

"Halberd of Archduke Ernst of Austria"
Dated 1593 
Arms and Armor

"Crossbow of Matthias Corvinus -
King of Hungary and Bohemia"
Dated 1489 
Arms and Armor

"Pair of Wheellock Rifles Made for Emperor Leopold I"Caspar Neireiter
Circa 1670–80
Arms and Armor

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