In this second and final part of a two-part series, Collections Assistant Kathy Greensides talks about part of her role as Museum Photographer and the kinds of things she does on a daily basis.
A social history collection may be defined as material evidence of people’s lives, it can tell us about beliefs, status and cast, economics and politics and it can include the extraordinary and the mundane. Furniture, toys, vehicles; food packaging; architectural and building fragments, furniture, shop fronts and interior fittings, jewellery, cutlery, the list is endless. Below are some objects from the social history department.
This katabori, ( a completely carved three dimensional work of art or sculpture) netsuke, depicts two figures carved from the same piece of ivory as the large pot and may represent a traditional Japanese story. Netsuke served both functional and aesthetic purposes. The traditional Japanese dress, the kimono had no pockets. The robes were hung together by a broad sash (obi), so items that were needed to be carried were held on a cord tucked under the sash.
The hanging objects (sagemono) were secured with carved toggles (netsuke). A sliding bead (ojime) was strung on the cord between the netsuke and the sagemono to tighten or loosen the opening of the sagemono.
This hand-made wooden model of a twelve gun Brig has eleven canvas sails and detailed rigging. The model sits on a custom-built wooden base The brig was built by the English architect Gilbert Mackenzie Trench who designed the 1929 model police boxes which became famous as the tardis in the long-running popular BBC television programme Dr Who.
A selection of pipes, including: Smoking pipe Meerschaum bowl is the head of a bearded man with hand painted leaf garland around head and eyes, at acquisition said to be 100 years old; Wooden smoking pipe, carved in Maori design with paua eyes; and a merschaum pipe carved in the image of a skull.
Even everyday items used by New Zealand families have distinctive and packaging that is reminiscent of a bygone era.