This book brings together ancient works from all over the Arctic region, including major sites in Russia and Alaska. It includes both utilitarian and decorative items, among them amulets, funerary offerings, and ceremonial masks, plus a selection of 19th-century masks from the modern Yup’ik that showcases the persistence of these cultural traditions. In his groundbreaking 1973 book Eskimo Realities, Edmund Carpenter distinguished their ideas of art from those derived from the European artistic canon. The renowned specialist in the Arctic and a founder of visual anthropology showed that Eskimo concepts are rooted in the creative process itself, focusing more on the interaction between artist and material than on the finished product. Over 30 years later, Upside Down invites the reader to explore Carpenter’s discoveries through these rare objects and essays by him and other scholars in the field.
Originally published in French to accompany Upside Down: Les Arctiques at the Musée du quai Branly, Paris.
About the Authors
Edmund Carpenter was a noted anthropologist and cinematographer specializing in the Canadian and Siberian Arctic. In addition to making his own films, he was the subject of the 2003 documentary Oh What a Blow that Phantom Gave Me. He taught at several universities, and authored a number of books, most recently Two Essays: Chief and Greed (2005) and Comock: The True Story of an Eskimo Hunter (2004).
Anne Bahnson is chief curator of the ethnographic collection at the National Museum of Denmark. She has been published in several books and journals, including Arctic Clothing of North America—Alaska, Canada, Greenland (2005).
Mikhail Bronshtein is a curator at the State Museum for Oriental Art in Moscow and works at the Ekven excavation site. He contributed to the Encyclopedia of the Arctic (2004).
Kirill Dneprovsky is a curator at the State Museum for Oriental Art in Moscow and works at the Ekven excavation site.
Ann Fienup-Riordan is a cultural anthropologist and independent scholar who has lived, worked, and taught in Alaska since 1973. She has written a number of books, including Yupiit Yuraryarait: Yup’ik Ways of Dancing (2010) and Freeze Frame: Alaska Eskimos in the Movies (2003).
Robert McGhee is curator of western arctic archaeology at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Gatineau, Quebec. He is the author of several books, including The Arctic Voyages of Martin Forbisher: An Elizabethan Adventure (2006) and The Last Imaginary Place: A Human History of the Arctic World (2005).
Patricia Sutherland is curator of eastern arctic archaeology at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Gatineau, Quebec. She is also the director of the Helluland Project investigating the activities of the Norse in the Easter Arctic and the author of Contributions to the Study of the Dorset-Palaeo Eskimos (2005).