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Major Native American Art Exhibition Opens
Uncommon Legacies: Native American Art from the Peabody Essex Museum.

TACOMA, WA.- /PRNewswire/ A nationally-touring exhibition that features one of the oldest and most important collections of Native American Art, begins a three-month run this weekend at the Washington State History Museum. The exhibition, called Uncommon Legacies: Native American Art from the Peabody Essex Museum opens to the public on Sunday, November 6 and runs through January 29, 2006.

Uncommon Legacies: Native American Art from the Peabody Essex Museum provides a thought-provoking look at Native American art procured by the East India Marine Society, an organization founded in 1799 in Salem, Massachusetts by an elite group of sea captains and maritime traders. The Society assembled a "cabinet of curiosities" that today helps to reveal the richness and creativity of Native American culture during the period from 1750 to 1850.

"In the formative years of this country there was an abundance of talented Native American artists -- each with styles and expressions unique to their tribal cultures," said David Nicandri, director of the Washington State History Museum. "This exhibition celebrates those works and provides a look at how Native Americans responded artistically to changing conditions brought about by European settlement in North America."

The exhibition will include five separate areas designated as: "Nations Within," "The Interior Wilderness: Missionaries," "The Interior Wilderness: Outposts, Explorers and Sojourners," "South American Adventurers," and "Pacific Coast Traders."

According to AFA Director Julia Brown, "Since 1909, the American Federation of Arts has produced outstanding programs based upon rigorous scholarship and a fresh, stimulating approach, including exhibitions of Native American art, such as Uncommon Legacies. We are delighted to be collaborating with the Peabody Essex in bringing these exceptional works of art to new audiences."

Among the featured items to be displayed include: a Kaigani Haida culture human face mask, circa 1820; a Pawtucket bear sculpture from the 16th century; a bear claw necklace, possibly Dakota, from the Eastern Plains region before 1826; and Iroquois moccasins from the early 1800s.

The exhibition also features objects from the Pacific Northwest including: an Aluet overcoat made from mammal intestines and dyed esophagus circa 1824-27; a plant fiber basket made in the Puget Sound region, possibly by Twana, prior to 1832; a man's shirt, possibly Nez Perce in the Columbia Plateau region, made from leather, horsehair, quills, wool, beads and deer dewclaws, circa 1840.

The exhibition is organized by the American Federation of Arts and the Peabody Essex Museum. The exhibition first opened during May 2002 at the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts, located on the campus of Stanford University. The exhibition has since made stops at select venues including the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Peabody Essex Museum.

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