Claude Lévi-Strauss : walk amongst the objects
For the centenary of the doyen of French cultural and social anthropology, otherwise known as structuralism, 21 pieces amongst the objects brought by Claude Lévi-Strauss from his expedition to South America between 1935 and 1939 have been chosen from the collections of the Musée du Quai Branly. They emphasize the sensitive and impassioned approach that this perceptive observer has always had on the Amerindian world and, in particular, the Amazonian culture.
British Columbia, Canada, Kwakiutl population, Wood paint, graphite, Cedar, cloth, string, 34 X 53 cm (closed), 130 cm (open), Former collections of Heye Foundation in New York and Claude Lévi-Strauss, 71.1951.35.1
This transformation mask opens into two sections. Closed, it represents a crow or an eagle; when spread out, a human face appears. It was associated with initiation rites that took place during the winter. During these ceremonies, both religious and theatrical, the spirit of the ancestors was supposed to enter into men. This type of mask interested Claude Lévi-Strauss by its capability to affirm « supernatural omnipresence and the multitude of myths ».