Gallery visit: Pitt Rivers museum, Oxford

The Pitt Rivers Museum is a gem, hidden in the already pretty cool Oxford Natural History Museum (

The Pitt Rivers Museum displays archaeological and ethnographic objects from all parts of the world and all time periods. It is truly a global museum.

It’s both fascinating and disturbing. Disturbing in part because of some of the macabre items and in part because of the remainder of the colonial explore and plunder culture that accounts for all its exhibits.

Given assignment 4 is all about the figure I was interested to explore the different ways indigenous peoples from around the world depicted the human figure.

For example these wonderful carvings, one made of wood from New Zealand, one from Rap Nui (Easter Island). Both highly stylised but bursting with real emotion.

object of the monthImage may contain: people standing, sky and outdoor


These Togan heads show the process of lost wax casting – a method that has not changed for thousands of years.

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The most interesting and terrifying part of the collection was the masks. Interesting because they show every conceivable emotion – they would make a great training approach to draw them – terrifying because…well just have a look.



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