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Picture of Weapons, Culture and the Anthropology Museum

Weapons, Culture and the Anthropology Museum

Editor(s): Tom Crowley, Andrew Mills

Book Description

Largely due to the tastes of nineteenth century Western collectors and curators, weaponry abounds in ethnographic museums. However, the relative absence of Asian, African, Native American and Oceanic arms and armour from contemporary gallery displays neither reflects this fact, nor accords these important artefacts the attention they deserve. Weapons are often those objects in museums which most strongly record traumatic histories of colonial conquest around the world, showcase a society’s most complex technologies, and encode a wealth of historical information relating to violent conflict, cultural identities, and indigenous masculinities.

This volume brings together an international collective of museum professionals, indigenous cultural historians, anthropologists and material culture specialists to address the historical role of weapon collections in ethnographic museums, and to reconsider the value of studying arms for the purposes of writing richer cultural histories. From Australia to the Amazon, from Uttar Pradesh to ancient Ulster, the essays in this book endeavour to return ethnographic weapons to the centre of material culture studies. In doing so, they offer a blueprint for a more sophisticated future treatment of world weaponry.


ISBN-13: 978-1-5275-0375-5
ISBN-10: 1-5275-0375-5
Date of Publication: 01/01/2018
Pages / Size: 266 / A5
Price: £61.99


Dr Andy Mills is a Research Associate in History of Art at the University of Glasgow, UK. He has worked as a curator of Pacific art, has curated European arms and armour, and has worked as a specialist weapons researcher for several ethnographic museums.

Tom Crowley is an anthropology curator at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, London. He was the principal convener of the Weapons and the Anthropology Museum conference, held at the Horniman in 2015.