Author Archives: Michael Evans

A Very Singular People, The Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Andaman Islanders, c. 1900

I have always had a fascination with the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, ever since I was young and read Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Sign of Four, partially set in the Andamans. These days in my dealings with tribal art, I seldom come across objects from these far-flung isles, but when I do, they always hold a particular intrigue for me, no doubt due in part to Sherlock Holmes.

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands form an archipelago in the Bay of Bengal, between India to the west, and Myanmar, to the north and east.… Read More

The Claflin Serape

The classic serape was the culmination of a century and a half of progress and growth in Navaho textile tradition. The Navajo learned to weave during the latter part of the 17th century from the Pueblos, who had been weaving cotton and other fabrics for hundreds of years. When the Spanish settled in the Southwest (from 1598) they introduced European treadle looms, Churro sheep to supply wool, and blue indigo dye. Churro wool and indigo blue soon became a part of the Pueblo weaving tradition.… Read More

The Polynesian Art of Tongan War Clubs

Tongan war clubs are weapons usually known by the term ‘akau, which means stave. Tongan clubs are one of the few instantly classic and easily identifiable artifacts from Polynesia. They were widely collected from the period of James Cook’s voyages in the 1770s onwards, and reflect the militaristic collecting interests of sailors and traders, as well as a vigorous demand for non-western weapons in the European curiosities markets.‘Akau, along with spears, were the principal weapons of war in Tonga up until the middle of the 19th century, despite the introduction of firearms from western sailors and traders from the late 18th century onwards.… Read More