At the Winter Antiques Show, a Pair of ‘Monumental Arms’

NEW YORK—The Winter Antique Show has brought many awe-inspiring items to the Park Avenue Armory—modern and antique furniture, 19th and 20th century art, jewelry and even German full-body armor.

A unique object at Donald Ellis Gallery stands out. The Canadian gallery specializes in antique North American Indian art and is featuring “Monumental Arms,” a pair of sculptural, carved wood arms that were once in the collection of the Denver Art Museum.

According to Donald Ellis, the arms were affixed to a monumental figure used to welcome guests to Potlatch feast—a family gathering and gift-giving festival practiced by indigenous peoples in the Pacific Northwest. He adds, “They are the largest I have encountered.”

The Winter Antiques Show runs from Jan 20-29, 2012.

Photos by Arts Observer

Above, “Monumental Arms,” Third quarter 19th century, Kwakwaka’wakw, Vancouver Island (wood, pigment). Top of page, in background, a late 19th century dance blanket from southeast Alaska.

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