Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Exhibition: Final Farewell - The culture of Death

Final Farewell: the Culture of Death and the Afterlife, showing in Missouri, is looking at how different socieities have approached death and the dead: "Six months in the making, the exhibit explores 4,000 years of death and burial practices as well as what Kidd called related 'sociological phenomenon.' It’s a visual history of death, encompassing practices associated with funerals, burials, mourning, martyrdom, suicide and even human sacrifice.
As is typical, Kidd drew on what the museum owns in deciding on the theme for this exhibit. An alabaster canopic jar, for example, was used to hold organs such as the lungs and liver taken from the newly deceased in ancient Egypt. Ornaments carved of human bone were taken from youths who underwent “sky burial,” a Buddhist ritual used in Tibet and China in which the deceased’s body is skinned, cut up and mashed into paste for the pleasure of vultures."

The website for the Museum of Art and Archaeology (The University of Missouri-Columbia) is at
A dedicated page for the exhibition on the Museum's site is at:
"The world’s many cultures have long created myriad traditions from ideas and attitudes about death. Moreover, their funerary rituals, preparations for the body, views toward cause of death, and notions of the afterlife have resulted in the creation of an extensive, artistic legacy. Final Farewell: the Culture of Death and the Afterlife examines these customs and ideas with art and artifacts representing the cultures of ancient Egypt, Greece, Etruria, Palestine, and the Roman empire; various civilizations of Asia, Africa, and the Americas; and the western European traditions of the medieval and later periods. The exhibit highlights cross-cultural similarities and differences that will allow visitors to trace continuing themes and to understand their collective impact on the production of art associated with the universal culture of death."

No comments: