Press Release

For Immediate Release 

 

Event Date: Now through May 25, 2014

 

Bellefonte Art Museum presents the Art of Adornment: jewelry and adornment created by people of traditional cultures, Bellefonte, PA

 

 

Bellefonte, Pennsylvania (April 15, 2014) - The Art of Adornment is an exhibit at the Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County of over 300 pieces of jewelry and adornment created by people of traditional cultures from Africa, Asia and the Americas.  The exhibit is divided into 13 geocultural regions showing samples from those areas.  Although many different styles are included in the show, they represent only a fraction of the over 5000 tribal, ethnic and indigenous groups in our world. The exhibit runs through May 25, 2014, 133 N. Allegheny Street, Bellefonte, PA.
 
The exhibition is a celebration of the customs, styles and techniques of personal adornment and is designed to take the viewer on a cultural tour of exotic beauty and powerful design.  Many of the works are no longer made and represent styles that have given way to modernization. Most of the ornaments in the exhibition date from 50 to 300 years and some are much older. 
 
History
Shell beads excavated in South Africa have been estimated to be over 50,000 years old and may be the oldest example of human adornment.  The beads were incised and punctured with holes apparently for stringing. Drawings in cave dwellings in Africa dating more than 10,000 years illustrate persons wearing elaborate head dressings. Examples of chest plate necklaces, ropes, earpieces and bracelets made of metal, clay and stone dating 2000 to 5000 years have been found in excavations in Africa, South America and Asia. The early use of adornment poses the question: why did early humans decide to add to their appearance? Perhaps they were copying the example of flora and fauna using colors and designs to make themselves more noticeable. Evidence of early adornment seems to provide a sense of knowledge about our early ancestors.
 
Exhibition
Personal body decorations may include the manipulation of the body by piercing and inserting objects, binding, and scaring. Piercing and scarification has been used by men and women for millennia. The exhibition includes examples of piercing objects and metal bands used on necks, ankles and arms.
 
Many native cultures designed adornment to represent the natural world so they incorporated feathers, bones and bird beaks to represent natural powers especially the power of birds to fly. The exhibit will include a headdress and necklaces created in this way.
 
South American and Native American cultures are represented with works of silver, gold and turquoise and reflect the classic use of those materials throughout the Americas.
 
The natural world afforded materials for beautiful and powerful designs. Traditional people have used ivory, gold, shells, stones and amber to create cherished works handed down through families and cultural groups. The exhibition includes shell necklaces from the Himba of Namibia, ivory from northern, eastern and western African groups, and stone from southeast Asian cultures. For hundreds of years, west African cultures excelled at working with gold and bronze.
 
The collection on exhibition includes amazing examples of bronze ornaments for ankle and neck decorations.
 
It might be said that beads are the most common and oldest form of adornment. Beads have been made from clay, bone, stone, metal, ivory, glass and alloys of silver and gold and created by people in almost every culture. They were easy to carry, trade and a convenient way to make personal decorations. Over time beads became a major trade item and sometimes were used as currency. A major change in human adornment came from the exportation of beads from Europe especially Italy and the Ottoman Empire. The end of the Renaissance found colorful glass and metal Venetian beads in almost every trading culture. Venetian beads were traded in almost every part of Africa. The exhibition includes many varied beads with samples of how beads were used by people in Africa, Asia and the Americas
 
Adornment is used to demonstrate power, sexual attraction, life passages, relationships and protection. The creation of personal adornment reflects tradition, nature and craftsmanship.  Some ornaments are designed in simple ways and others create interest by their complexity. Whether a work is splendid or simple, it is the result of the unique way colors, forms and shapes are assembled in design and result in wearable works of art. 
 
The jewelry and artifacts exhibited are from the collection of Patricia House (Director, Bellefonte Art Museum). Ms. House has collected ethnic and tribal wearable art for over 50 years.

 

The Museum is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only from 1:00 - 4:30 pm. On the first Sunday of every month they have a special event called "First Sunday" where they have at least one new exhibit opening. Food and beverages are served and one of the  artists teaches a children's art activity. No admission fee.
 
www.bellefontemuseum.org,  814- 355-4280

 

 

 

 
 

 

 Contact & Media Visits  

 

Media Contact: Lori Fisher, Gallery Manager

Email: bellefontemuseum@gmail.com 

Phone: 814 355 4280

Media Visits: Complimentary media visits for journalists on assignment or with approved credentials. If you are unable to accept a courtesy visit, a press rate can be negotiated.

 

Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County

133 N. Allegheny Street, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, 16823

Web: www.bellefontemuseum.org

 

 Condensed Version  

 

Bellefonte Art Museum presents the Art of Adornment: jewelry and adornment created by people of traditional cultures, Bellefonte, PA

Bellefonte, Pennsylvania - The Art of Adornment is an exhibit at the Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County of over 300 pieces of jewelry and adornment created by people of traditional cultures from Africa, Asia and the Americas.  The exhibit is divided into 13 geocultural regions showing samples from those areas and is designed to take the viewer on a cultural tour of exotic beauty and powerful design.  Most of the ornaments in the exhibition date from 50 to 300 years and some are much older.  Although many different styles are included in the show, they represent only a fraction of the over 5000 tribal, ethnic and indigenous groups in our world. The exhibit runs through May 25, 2014, 133 N. Allegheny Street, Bellefonte, PA. The Museum is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only from 1:00 - 4:30 pm. On the first Sunday of every month they have a special event called "First Sunday" where they have at least one new exhibit opening. Food and beverages are served and one of the  artists teaches a children's art activity. No admission fee.  www.bellefontemuseum.org,  814- 355-4280

 

 

 

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