Dr. Ostapkowicz’s project, Jaguars, Raptors and the Patterns of War: 14th-18th century South American Indigenous sculptural arts, brings together over 100 Amazonian/northeastern South American carvings from over 30 international museums in a study of their materials, chronologies and iconography.
These carvings, linked together by a strong stylistic cohesion but widely scattered across Europe and the Americas, will be the focus of a comprehensive study aimed at placing this little known artistic heritage within its cultural and historic context.
The corpus includes ceremonial drug paraphernalia, often featuring jaguar and raptorial bird imagery, as well as large double-handed clubs with elaborate two-dimensional design panels, four of which were recently dated to ~AD 1300-1600 as part of a preliminary project on the Ashmolean’s South American collections (“Origins of Tradescant’s ‘India Occidentali’ Wooden Clubs”).
The project starts in November 2019.
Image: Three carvings attributed to the Rio Trombetas region, Brazil. Left: zoomorphic bowl, H: 109mm; V.Am 1988. Centre: tube featuring two zoomorphic creatures, H: 108mm; V.Am 1987. Right: bifurcated snuff tube in the form of a bird, H: 100mm; V.Am 1834. Image: Ostapkowicz, courtesy Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen©, Mannheim, Germany.