History events at the IHR

Dressed like an Amazon: The transatlantic trajectory of a red feather coat

17 June 2013, 18:00 - 20:00

Event Type: Seminar


Mariana Françozo (lecturer and researcher, University of Leiden)


Venue: Torrington Room 104, Senate House, Ground floor

In 2000, Brazilian Ministry of Culture prepared and organized an exhibition commemorating the five hundredth anniversary of the arrival of Europeans in the South American continent. Located at the Ibirapuera Park in the city of Sao Paulo, the exhibition was called 'Mostra do Redescobrimento' and showcased a wide variety of examples of Brazilian art, including Amerindian Art. For this occasion, the Danish National Museum agreed with the loan of a particularly rare artifact that was likely produced during the first century of colonial contacts: a 1.2 meter long, 60 cm wide red feather coat, most likely made by the Tupinamba indigenous group of coastal Brazil. This object had been housed at the Danish Museum for about 350 years, and therefore made its first appearance in Brazil since its departure almost four centuries ago.
Taking the first Brazilian exhibition of this artifact - and the public's reaction to it - as a starting point, this presentation will retrace the trajectory of a collection of Amerindian feather adornments now housed at theNational Museum in Copenhagen. This trajectory will take us from the backlands of colonial Brazil to the courts of the English and Dutch royal families in Golden Age Holland to present-day Copenhagen. By focusing on the specific episodes where feather coats were given, worn and displayed, this presentation will investigate how the meanings of these objects continuously shifted as they became part of different social contexts. Consequently, it will discuss how they served and may still serve different purposes as representations of power and exoticism but also of Amerindian identity, heritage, and political rights in the contemporary world.

Venue: Room 104 (Senate House, first floor)

Senate House
Malet Street 
London WC1E 7HU 

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