Melanesia: Art and Encounter
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384pp. July 2013
Melanesia: Art and Encounter
Editor: Bolton, Lissant; Thomas, Nicholas; Bonshek, Elizabeth; Adams, Julie; Burt, Ben;
Melanesia is one of the most culturally diverse and artistically fertile regions of the world. This book is an exporation of one of the richest collections of Melanesian art, that of the British Museum. It is the product of sustained dialogue with people from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, West Papua, and New Caledonia, who are authors or co-authors of many of its chapters.

Melanesia: Art and Encounter is a companion to this outstanding collection. The book ranges over an extraordinary variety of historic and modern art forms, from striking masks and shell valuables to intricately woven fabrics, string bags, and paintings on canvas. It investigates histories of exploration and exchange, conversion to Christianity and cultural revival, drawing upon a wealth of new information gleaned from archives, photographs, oral histories, and dialogue with Melanesians. The book is a revelation, not only of the arts of Melanesia, but also of the challenges and possibilities of collaborative research today.

306 color illus.

For sale only in the U.S., its dependencies, Canada, and Mexico
Melanesia: Art and Encounter charts the terms of engagement between Melanesians and their material traces in a major Western museum. The contributors harness the power of a remarkable collection of artefacts to unsettle and recreate cultural memory and to highlight cross-cultural connections between persons and things. Beautifully illustrated and carefully researched, this volume brilliantly demonstrates the Melanesian axiom that objects and images realise, animate, and sometimes disrupt relationships.” —Robert Foster, University of Rochester
Editor: Bolton, Lissant; Thomas, Nicholas; Bonshek, Elizabeth; Adams, Julie; Burt, Ben;
Lissant Bolton is Keeper of the Department of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the British Museum. Nicholas Thomas is Professor of Historical Anthropology and Director of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge. Elizabeth Bonshek is Researcher at the Donald Home Institute for Cultural Heritage, University of Canberra and an Honorary Associate of Museum Victoria. Julie Adams is Research Associate at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. Ben Burt is Curator in the Department of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the British Museum.



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