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  1. A seventeenth-century pomander and chain
  2. A parcel-gilt silver pomander, made in Italy in the 16th century; features a niello inscription
  3. Pomander, gold filigree, enclosing a ball of ambergris. 1600-1700
  4. Gold and Silver Pomander, 16th Century
***Pomander – a ball made of perfumes, such as ambergris (whence the name),musk, or civet. The pomander was worn or carried in a vase, also known by the same name, as a protection against infection in times of pestilence or merely as a useful article to modify bad smells. The globular cases which contained the pomanders were hung from a neck-chain or belt, or attached to the girdle, and were usually perforated and made of gold or silver. Sometimes they contained several partitions, in each of which was placed a different perfume.

Posted on July 22, 2013 at 7:16 am


Louie Gong (pictured 3rd from the left in the last photo) is an educator, activist, and artist who was raised by his grandparents in the Nooksack tribal community. He is the past President of MAVIN, co-developer of the Mixed Heritage Center, and a former child and family therapist. Louie is also the founder of Eighth Generation, through which he merges traditional Coast Salish art and icons from popular culture to make strong statements about identity, such as his highly sought-after, hand-drawn custom shoes. Louie’s latest creation is called “Mockups”, a DIY art toy based on his work with youth and his desire to a make the experience of personalizing a pair of shoes more accessible.

Louie is proud to have represented his family and community through keynote level presentations and custom shoe workshops around the world, as well as in media such as NBC Nightly News, The New York Times,, and Indian Country Today. His unique merger of art and activism is the subject of UNRESERVED: the Work of Louie Gong, a Longhouse Media film that was selected to screen at prestigious film festivals around the world, including Festival De Cannes and National Geographic’s All Roads Film Festival.

In 2012, Louie began an artistic partnership with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian called Design Yourself: I AM NMAI, and a collaboration with Manitobah Mukluks that led to the “LG Gatherer", a limited edition boot that has already sold out of it’s first 3 runs.

Louie was recently honored by being named to Native Max Magazine’s list of the “Top 10 Inspirational Native’s: Past and Present" and received the Seattle Indian Health Board’s Adeline Garcia’s Community Service Award, through which the nation’s largest Urban Indian Health Clinic recognizes community leaders for volunteer service.

Eigth Generation by Louie Gong – Facebook Page

Official Website

Posted on July 19, 2013 at 3:37 pm


Hair and grooming have always played an important role in the culture of Africa and the African Diaspora. The traditional African comb or pick has played a crucial role in the creation, maintenance, and decoration of hair-styles for both men and women.

In many African societies, ancient and modern, the hair comb symbolises status, group affiliation, and religious beliefs, and is encoded with ritual properties. The handles of combs are decorated with objects of status, such as the headrest, human figures, and motifs that reference nature and the traditional spiritual world.

In the twentieth century ‘afro’ combs have taken on a wider political and cultural message, perhaps most notably in the form of the ‘black fist’ comb that references the Black power salute.

By looking at archaeological records of burials, and through recording oral histories in modern societies it is hoped the project will provide a much better understanding of the status of this iconic object and the spiritual and societal status it can hold. This project aims to trace the history and the meaning of the African hair comb over a period of 5500 years in Africa, through to its re-emergence amongst the Diaspora in the Americas, Britain and the Caribbean.

Origins of the Afro Comb

This exhibition looks so awesome, with some of the oldest Afro combs (from ancient Egypt about 6000 years ago) and modern takes on the combs, all from diverse communities in Africa and the African Diaspora.

It is on at the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of  Cambridge (England).

Also read: Five reasons why you should see the Origins of the Afro Comb Exhibition in Cambridge

Posted on July 19, 2013 at 6:18 am

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Posted on July 18, 2013 at 2:47 pm

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