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Description - Melanesia by Nicholas Thomas

The British Museums uniquely important Melanesian collection is pre-eminent among early collections, and the 20,000 items it comprises are core to understanding the cultures of the western Pacific. The extraordinary art styles represented, from groups such as New Guinea, New Ireland and the Solomon Islands and relating to ancestors, family and clan, houses, feasting and festivals, are of interest not only in themselves but also for how they have influenced European artists since the nineteenth century.

With contributions from a wide range of international scholars, anthropologists, indigenous peoples and artists, and illustrated with over 300 colour images of Museum objects and contextual photographs, the book will survey and respond to the collection from the point of view of anthropologists and the people responsible for its creation.

Melanesia is a visual and key reference work, providing illuminating encounters with the historical and contemporary cultures of the western Pacific, documenting the most culturally diverse and artistically fertile region in the world for the first time.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780714125961
ISBN-10: 0714125962
Format: Hardback
(279mm x 229mm x 31mm)
Pages: 384
Imprint: British Museum Press
Publisher: British Museum Press
Publish Date: 6-Jul-2013
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Nicholas Thomas

Prof. Dr. Nicholas Thomas was an undergraduate at the Australian National University from 1979 to 1982; his BA (Honours) thesis, on Fijian politics, was supervised by Anthony Forge. He visited the Pacific first in 1984 to undertake doctoral research in the Marquesas Islands and has since written extensively on exploration and cross-cultural encounters and on art histories in the Pacific. He has been Director of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge since 2006. Key publications: 2016, (with Maia Nuku, Julie Adams, Billie Lythberg and Amiria Salmond) Artefacts of Encounter: Cook's Voyages, Colonial Collecting and Museum Histories. Otago: Otago University Press. 2016, The return of curiosity: what museums are good for in the twenty first century. London: Reaktion / Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2012, (with Peter Brunt, Sean Mallon, Lissant Bolton, Deidre Brown, Damian Skinner and Susanne Kuechler) Art in Oceania: a new history. London: Thames and Hudson / New Haven: Yale University Press. Awarded the Art Book Prize Lissant Bolton is Keeper, Africa, Oceania and the Americas, British Museum.

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