Chapter 1. Traditions

Hamatsa Raven dancer, by Rupert Scow

Hamatsa Raven dancer

The Raven dances around the fire. A wild one, no longer a human being, he dances to impress the Kwakiutl. He is Baxbaxwalanuksiwe, the man eater, giver of both the dance and the mask.

Head, possibly a king, an Oni of Ife, 12th-14th centuries, Kimbell Art Museum

Oni of Ife

Sculpted Ife heads, they say, had a ritual purpose. Buried under giant trees, at crossroads, or below important shrines, they were resurrected when needed, to convey their accumulated power.

Queen Victoria’s emerald and diamond parure, designed by Prince Albert

Queen Victoria’s parure

Necklace, earrings, and brooch feature large rectangular and teardrop emeralds set in diamond arrays. Prince Albert designed and commissioned the emerald and diamond parure for her since emerald was her birth stone and symbolizes royal wealth and power, knowing an emerald could expose a lover’s lies, and Albert was unafraid in that regard.