2015 FEA Holiday Party and Preview of Bonhams’ Auction

Holiday Party and Preview of
Bonhams’ Native American Art Auction
Saturday, December 5th, 2015
Bonhams, 220 San Bruno Ave., San Francisco
Hosted by Jim Haas and Bonhams

Wines, cheeses, Eritrean food, including meat and vegan dishes,
and a slide show of members’ photos for background ambiance
Jim Haas, Vice President and Director of the Ethnographic Art Dept. of Bonhams, and a long-time FEA member, will be on hand to answer questions guests may have while viewing objects in the auction-of Native American art, including jewelry, kachina dolls, paintings, Northwest Coast and Eskimo art, weavings, pottery, baskets, and Plains/Plateau/Woodlands material.

Performance Politics: Role of Shaft Tomb Figures of Western Mexico in Public Rituals

27th Annual Elizabeth and Lewis K. Land Memorial Lecture:
“Performance Politics: Role of Shaft Tomb Figures of Western Mexico in Public Rituals” – Christopher Beekman,
Assoc. Professor, Univ. of Colorado, Denver, and Dumbarton Oaks Fellow for 2015-16
Oct. 24, 2015 (10:00 – 12 noon) – Koret Auditorium, de Young Museum
Were pre-Columbian west Mexican ceramic figures originally used for storytelling before live audiences? Were these charming sculptures of shamans, musicians, warriors, families and animals only intended for burial rituals or might they have been kept and used for public performances before being entombed to accompany the deceased? Come hear the newest thinking on these artifacts (200 BC – AD 250) based on recent archaeological excavations and re-examination of museum collections.

2015 Annual Party, Auction & Meeting

At a historic event space/room in a San Francisco park, with a covered patio, large lawn and panoramic views of the skyline and bay

In keeping with the eclectic interests of FEA members and friends, this year’s party will feature paella, both traditional and vegetarian, sangria, and flamenco music, and our theme will be ETHNIC HATS (Be Creative)

Renew your membership NOW to use the early bird party rate.
Space is limited

We already have a fair number of auction items (THANKS!), but we can always use a few more quality items. Contact to arrange a drop-off or a pick-up with one of our auction committee members. Objects brought the day of the auction will most likely be held until next year (but can count for tax purposes this year.)

You can renew your membership and register (early bird rate until September 10) for the party using PayPal via

or postal mail using the FEA Dues and Party Reservation Form sent to current and lapsed FEA members.

The party location & directions will be sent in a confirmation email after your registration is received.

Just some of the donated items (more are posted at

PNG Mask 2015 Chinese wedding cake box
Indo Figure Indo Figure_Detail Phil Armband 1 Phil_Armband 2 PNG Drum

Walk-Through of the de Young Museum’s Masterworks of African Figurative Sculpture

An FEA Members-Only Walk-Through of the de Young Museum’s Exhibtion Embodiments: Masterworks of African Figurative Sculpture – June 25, 2015 – de Young Museum.

A private FEA-members only docent tour was led by Mary Pat Cress, an FEA member and highly respected docent.

The Exhibit: This selection of sculptures from sub-Saharan Africa pays homage to the figure in African art. Embodiments: Masterworks of African Figurative Sculpture features 120 pieces from the collection of Richard H. Scheller, composed of classic and iconic sculptures as well as more unusual examples that challenge commonly held assumptions about African art. The geographical breadth of the collection and the variations in its depictions of the human form will allow visitors to explore both the histories and the formal qualities of these works of art.

Approximately 110 cultural groups are represented by sculptures spanning several centuries and encompassing a broad range of styles, from realism to abstraction. In their original contexts, these objects represented ancestors, expressed community values, and served religious and ceremonial purposes. For example, Luluwa artists carved bwimpe (power figures) that expressed ideals of beauty as a moral virtue through their highly intricate coiffures and stylized scarification marks, and rituals associated with these sculptures offered protection to women and their children.

As works of art that were removed from their originating communities and entered the art market, the sculptures in this exhibition express value systems and cultural relationships both inside and outside Africa. Works such as the eyema byeri (or “the image of the ancestor”), from the Fang Ntumu of northern Gabon, were once placed atop reliquaries containing human remains. During the early 20th century, such sculptures circulated among European and American dealers and collectors whose interest in African art was spurred by a passion for modernism. The Scheller Collection eyema byeri was once owned by Paul Guillaume, a Parisian dealer and champion of modernist art who was also an advisor to the legendary Dr. Albert Barnes, founder of the Barnes Foundation.

Chinese Minority Textiles from the Collection of Peter Nelson: Yunnan & Guizhou Provinces of China 1985-1996

Chinese Minority Textiles from the Collection of Peter Nelson: Yunnan & Guizhou Provinces of China 1985-1996

Sunday, February 8, 2015, 10 – 11 AM
Fleet Room, Building D, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco

A slide presentation by Pam Najdowski of Peter Nelson’s early textile explorations in SW China.

Peter Nelson (1945-2012), an ethnographic dealer and tour leader, was an early traveler into ethnic areas of southwest China when they were first reopened to Western visitors. He traveled extensively with his camera and was able to document what he saw in the traditional villages of the area. Pamela Najdowski, an independent textile researcher and ethnographic dealer from Santa Fe, New Mexico has acquired from his heirs “Peter Nelson’s Core Collection” which he had selected and saved as the finest examples during the years he was active in the ethnographic marketplace.

Pamela Najdowski’s talk will include Peter’s photographs of communities, local artisans, antique ceremonial outfits, and other textiles as well as examples of his collected textiles.




The Creative Miracle of Eskimo and Inuit Art…from 2,500 Years Ago to the Present

The Creative Miracle of Eskimo and Inuit Art…from 2,500 Years Ago to the Present

Sunday, Feb. 22 (10 – 11 AM) – Marin Art of the America’s Show, Marin Civic Center, San Rafael

RozImage   . . . G Inuit4 Ethnoaesthetics 003
         300 BC to AD 200, Alaska                         to         20th Century, Canada

A “double” lecture on Inuit/Eskimo art by: Roslyn Tunis, long-time FEA member and Consulting Curator, Thomas G. Fowler Collection of Eskimo and Inuit Art, Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the de Young, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; and Nelson H. Graburn, long-time FEA member and Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Curator Emeritus, Hearst Museum of Anthropology, Co-Chair, Canadian Studies Program, U C Berkeley.

Ms. Tunis will use examples from the de Young Museum’s Thomas Fowler collection to illustrate the history of Alaskan Eskimo art beginning ca. 2,500 year ago with small ivory and wood carvings through large scale anthropomorphic sculptures created in the 20th century.  She will discuss how the donor, Mr. Fowler, as an artist, adventurer, and traveler collected such extraordinary pieces, and ones that truly represent the Spirit and Yua/Inua or inner soul of pre-historic and contemporary Alaskan Art.

Dr. Graburn will continue by discussing the explosion of Inuit Arts that emerged from the Canadian Artic in the late 1940s and soon flourished in galleries, museums and markets of Canada, the United States, and Europe in the 1950s. These arts revealed the endless creativity of the Canadian Inuit in collaboration with the enthusiasm and energy of many qallunaat (non-Inuit) Canadians. We will explore the origins and spread of this miracle with some attention as to how it differed from the artistic developments in Alaska and Greenland.

Death and Ritual in the Chincha Kingdom: New Insights into the Funerary Practices of the mid-Chincha Valley, Peru


Death and Ritual in the Chincha Kingdom:
New Insights into the Funerary Practices of the mid-Chincha Valley, Peru
by Jacob Bongers


Sunday, January 11, 2015 (3 – 5 PM)
Private home. Members only.

“I will present the 2014 discoveries from tombs in the mid-Chincha Valley, Peru, of textiles, pendants, beads, and post-mortem body manipulation, which add unprecedented insights into funerary practices of the Chincha Kingdom. This talk builds upon last year’s presentation of our discovery of over 500 mostly pre-Inca tombs, known as chullpas.” – Jacob Bongers

Location will be sent only to members.
Limited space. RSVP to  required.

FEA Welcomes New Members –

2014 FEA Holiday Party

2014 Friends of Ethnic Art Holiday Party

Saturday, December 6, 2014
hosted by FEA and Xanadu Gallery, San Francisco

Holiday cheer at the beautiful and incomparable Xanadu Gallery. Owner Marsha Vargas Handley has graciously invited us to celebrate amidst lovely Asian, Oceanic and ethnic art works and jewelry for view and for sale in the unique setting created by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1948. As an added treat, the basement will be open for viewing of its long-hidden offerings.

Of course, coupled with these feasts for our eyes will be a cornucopia of wines, cheeses, and tasty ethnic party foods.

Chavín de Huántar: Integrating Art, Innovation, and Politics in the Early Andes

26th Annual Elizabeth and Lewis K. Land Memorial Lecture: 

Chavín de Huántar: Integrating Art, Innovation, and Politics in the Early Andes

– Dr. John Rick

Saturday, December 13, 2014 (10:00 AM – 12 noon)
Koret Auditorium, de Young Museum

Chavín de Huántar, the best-known site from the Formative Period (1800 – 1 BCE) in the Peruvian Andes, produced distinctive and enigmatic art works that incorporate many materials and that have been used by archaeologists to trace the apparent influence of Chavín styles throughout the region. A rarely explored aspect is how this art can be seen as part of a complex of innovations, developed at Chavín and other contemporary sites, that were part of a calculated strategy for establishing the authority of early leaders. Incorporating recent discoveries at Chavín, this lecture will emphasize how developments in art, ritual, architecture, and technology built a new political world, one that would be the foundation for later societies such as the Moche and Inca.

Dr. John W. Rick has been teaching archaeology in the Anthropology Department at Stanford University since 1978, and directing the Chavín de Huántar Archaeological Project since 1995. He has carried out research in the Andes for forty years and is also involved in the archaeology of the Guatemala highlands. His interests in this field include employing digital archaeological techniques and researching the beginnings of stratification in New World societies, stone tool technologies, and all things Peruvian.

Walk-Through of the de Young’s Exhibition “Lines on the Horizon: Native American Art from the Weisel Family Collection”

A FEA Members-Only Walk-Through of the de Young Museum’s Exhibition Lines on the Horizon: Native American Art from the Weisel Family Collection 

What a collection coup the de Young Museum has with the Weisel Family Collection!

Thomas Weisel quietly and privately put together a gorgeous collection of Native American Indian art at a time when he was more known in financial circles for his hedge-fund wizardry and known in art circles for his avid interest in modern and contemporary art.

His great collection has been donated to the de Young forevermore, but this inaugural exhibition of it (Lines on the Horizon: Native American Art from the Weisel Family Collection) is our very special opportunity to see it in its entirety. Join a limited Friends of Ethnic Art-members walk-through where we will be able to focus on these great art objects and hear Curator Matthew Robb elaborate on the historical and cultural concepts behind their creation.  Our group will be limited to 25 FEA members. 

For our members, Matthew will additionally address the remarkable aesthetic concepts and execution behind the amazing Mimbres Pre-Historic ceramics. The Weisel collection-within-a-collection of Mimbres ceramics is absolutely world-class and absolutely visually astonishing. Whether you have already been dazzled by Mimbres design masterworks or are ready for your first exposure, you will be enchanted by the de Young display and Matthew’s insights.

When Matthew has finished walking us through this exquisite jewel-box of an exhibition and answered our last questions, he will then hand our small group off to Textiles Curator Jill D’Alessandro. Jill will then take over to focus our eyes and thoughts on the spectacular aesthetics of the remarkable Navajo textiles collection-within-a-collection.

Members must reserve, be confirmed, be on time, and wear comfy shoes for standing in.  After this double presentation of approximately 75-90 minutes, the de Young cafe could provide a delightful spot for members to sit, lunch, and chat with each other.

NOTE: If you miss this, please remember that there are frequent docent-led tours of the exhibition Lines on the Horizon: Native American Art from the Weisel Family Collection. Please refer to the de Young Museum calendar at for an updated schedule. Also, there are occasional Docent-Led Lectures in the Koret Auditorium. Currently, the de Young online calendar shows one scheduled on October 7 at 2:15 PM.