Jack the Ripper walk (part three)

Pieter van der Heyden (1538-72), Big Fish Eat Little Fish

Pytney bridge (part one)

No mask of a young woman

Macadamia and stem ginger cookies


The clipper ships and great tea races

Ealing Broadway

Eating out

William Blake (1757-1827), Albion Rose

Introduction (part four)


A new era in tea

Behind the Scenes

Hanger Lane

News from our friends
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Hawai’ian feather cape
This cape made of bird feathers showed the importance and status of its wearer. In the Hawai’ian islands of Polynesia, only men of high status were such featherwork regalia in ceremonies and battle. The cape is made from olona fibre (Touchardia latifolia) netting, on to which tiny bundles of feathers have been attached in overlapping rows. The red feathers come from the i’iwi bird (Vestiaria cocchinea), and the yellow and black feathers from the o’o (Moho nobilis). Red feathers were reserved for those of highest rank, but yellow feathers became the most highly prized colour due to their rarity.

A wide variety of jewellery, ornaments and other items of dress from all cultures and periods of history can be found throughout the Museum. Humans seem to have been using clothing and adornment to make statements about who we are and who we would like to be ever since the beginning of what archaeologists call the Modern Age, 40 000 years ago. Some of the oldest jewellery in the Museum are pieces of necklaces from the last Ice Age.
Hoa Hakananai’a

This monumental carving of the head and torso of a man is known as Hoa Hakananai’a (stolen or hidden friend). Easter Island is famous for monolithic basalt statues (moai) such as this one. They were probably carved to commemorate important ancestors and were made from around AD 1000 until the 1600s. Originally many stood on stone platforms (ahus).
Marble figure of Buddha Amitabha

Two of the largest objects in the Museum are religious images. This huge marble statue of the Buddha Amitabha is almost 6 metres tall and originally stood in a temple in northern China. It was erected by the first emperor of the Sui dynasty, Wendi, who converted to Buddhism and encouraged its spread throughout China.
Stone sculpture of Shakti-Ganesha

Ganesha is the elephant-headed son of the Hindu gods Shiva and Parvati, renowned throughout India as the Lord of Beginnings. For this reason he is worshipped before the start of any new venture.
Corbridge lanx

This magnificent silver platter is decorated with a scene of classical pagan gods. It was found on the bank of the River Tyne at Corbridge, near Hadrian's Wall, in 1735. The Latin term lanx means tray.
Jade votive axe

This axe was not intended for use as a tool but as a religious and ceremonial object. It was carved from jade by the Olmec culture of Mexico over 2000 years ago. The axe is shaped as a figure, with a large head and short stocky body narrowing into a blade edge. Such votive axes combine the features of humans and animals such as the jaguar, toad or eagle.
Bronze mask of Dionysos

This mask originally supported the handle of a ritual vessel with a handle ring (now missing) projecting from the top of the head. It shows great craftsmanship, both in the high quality of the bronze casting and in the use of metal inlay to highlight the details. Grapes, ivy berries and the lips are inlaid with copper, an iron band encircles the forehead, and the eyes are inlaid with silver.
Wooden figure of the war god Ku-ka ili-moku

This large and intimidating figure is a temple image of the Hawai'ian war god Ku in his aspect as Ku-ka'ili-moku (snatcher of land). Standing over 2.5 metres high, it is not meant to be a representation of the deity but a receptacle which the god would be induced to enter through prayer and ritual. Only when the god was within would it become sacred.
Bronze head of Apollo («Chatsworth Head»)

This bronze head comes from a slightly over life-size statue. At the time it was made, in the fifth century ВС, the Greeks usually represented only deities as over life-size, so it is probably the image of a god rather than an idealized human. The long curly locks of hair suggest that it is from a statue of the 'golden-haired' god Apollo, who was associated with light, beauty and music.