Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford

This is in the rear of the Natural History museum, and in a way one of my favourite, because it hasn’t been multi-mediated and explained within an inch of its life. It is cluttered, poorly labeled at times, but utterly fascinating, in some parts due to the sheer number of similar items all crammed into a cabinet, reminding us of the huge variety of humankind and the stuff we make. This is a giant cabinet of curiosities, what modern museums evolved from. I think i prefer it to the modern ones but maybe I’m just showing my age.

This is a sealskin pictogram from Bering Strait:


This is a policeman’s amulet from Paris, 1889 containing a coin, piece of hangman’s rope and the skin from a sadistic murderer. Apparently on hanging days people used to crowd round the base of the gallows hoping for contact with the dead man’s hand believed to have curative powers.


This is a 3 string viola made by Indians in Ecuador

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And a must- have for all the ladies now summer is here: reindeer underknickers.


And I love this: a raven transformation mask from the late 1880s by Innuit in a place I cannot read my handwriting. It opens up. Brilliant.



And this is I think a scare devil from Nicobar Islands, Indonesia


5 thoughts on “Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford

  1. I keep saying I’m going to go to this museum and then not going, so thanks for a reminder to say (again) that I’m going there one day, as with enough nudges, one day I might really go – if you see what I mean.


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