Mystery objects



While few in number, there are objects in our collections that have so far stumped us as to what they are or where they come from.
 

If you think you know what any of these objects might be, where they are most likely to be from, and so on, please help us set our records straight by contacting Christopher J. Philipp, Collections Manager and
Alan Francisco, Department of Anthropology Registrar: cphilipp@fieldmuseum.org and afrancisco@fieldmuseum.org.

We are always willing to listen to a good explanation!


close up of "mat" - 970758.

(© 2010, Christopher J. Philipp)

These 2 "mats" were formerly located in the Department's Pacific Research Lab (PRL) and former storeroom for the Pacific collections prior to moving to the Collections Resource Center (CRC).  The objects were found with no numbers, tags, or associated information and in proximity to collections from both Polynesia and Micronesia.  They were tagged with temporary tracking numbers but have not yet been linked to any catalog number or accession in the collections in the Museum.  If you recognize where these objects may have originally come from please let us know!

"mat" - 970757. (front)

(© 2010, Christopher J. Philipp)



"mat" - 970757. (back)

(© 2010, Christopher J. Philipp)

 

"mat" - 970758. (front)

(© 2010, Christopher J. Philipp)

"mat" - 970758. (back)

(© 2010, Christopher J. Philipp)



Mystery object collected by A. B. Lewis Identified!

A mystery solved!  We were not sure where this object came from, much less what it actually was.  The only information we had from the donors was that it was in the possession of A. B. Lewis and had been handed down in the family.

The wooden object that the Museum received last year, a gift of David and Betty Pugh, 2008, is NOT from the Pacific Islands.  While walking down an aisle in the African storage room, collections manager, Christopher J. Philipp noticed 2 almost identical items.  As it turns out, they are armlets or arm clamps (as they were called in the database) from Kenya.  The 2 that looked nearly identical to the one A.B. Lewis originally had were from the Kikuyu group and had the same shape, same type of design (ornamental lines) on the ends, and even the same wire clasping.  The Museum's Anthropology collections now actually contain 21 of these artifacts that were made by the Masai and Kikuyu groups.  All but 2 of these items were collected during the 1906 Zoological Expedition led by Carl Akeley.  In a book on African adornment by Angela Fisher there is a reference to these types of objects being called errap armlets.  Other references online describe these  objects as erap or erab.  This armlet, along with the other 20 in the collection, is now being moved along with the entire African ethnographic collection to the Museum's Collections Resource Center.


(©  Department of Anthropology, Field Museum)







Unidentified object collected by A. B. Lewis

The best guess at the moment is that this object is a wall vase for flowers, possibly orchids.  Gift of David and Betty Pugh, 2008.
(©  Department of Anthropology, Field Museum)