Wearable Art From Multiple Cultures


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Exhibits at three different museums showcase wearable art from diverse cultures and demonstrate that there’s more to jewelry than simply adornment.


"Holocaust" neck piece, Joyce J. Scott (2013)

“Holocaust” neck piece, Joyce J. Scott (2013)

Neckpieces and blown glass sculptures by Joyce J. Scott is the focus of a thought-provoking exhibit at the Museum of Art and Design (MAD). Entitled “Maryland to Murano,” the exhibition is the first “to examine the relationship between Scott’s beaded and constructed neck pieces created in her Baltimore, Maryland studio and her more recent blown glass sculptures crafted in the Brenego Studio on Murano Island in Venice, Italy,” according to MAD. The exhibit is on view through March 15, 2015.

Bracelet, Raymond C. Yazzie, 2005. Silver inlaid with coral, turquoise, lapis lazuli, 14-karat gold accents.

Glittering World: Navajo Jewlery of the Yazzie Family features almost 300 examples of contemporary jewelry made by members of one Gallup, New Mexico family.  The works on view at the National Museum of the American Indian are silver, gold, and stone inlay work,  combining bead and stonework as well as silver and gold.  The exhibition, states the museum, “places Navajo jewelry making within its historical context of art and commerce, illustrates its development as a form of cultural expression, and explores the meanings behind its symbolism.” The exhibit is on view through January 2016.

Pair of Anklets, Gold, set with white sapphires, with attached pearls and hanging glass beads; enamel on reverse (1800–50), Al-Thani collection

Pair of Gold Anklets (1800–50), Al-Thani collection

Finally, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is  Treasures from India: Jewels from the Al-Thani Collection. Though a smaller exhibit, the sixty items on display here showcase the intricate and colorful styles of the jeweled arts in India from the Mughal period until the present day. They all come from the private collection formed by Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Thani. The exhibit will be open until January 25, 2015.