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Please find more information about the object below the image.

Producer unknown to us

”Compass Dial”, part of a replica of a Uhuhu-Kiva-altar

Americas, USA, New Mexico, Zuni Pueblo

Prior to 1914

Wood, sawed, painted

Collector unknown to us

Purchased by the museum from the inventory of the 1914 BUGRA (world exhibition of the publishing industry and graphics) in Leipzig

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This "wind star" is part of a replica of an altar of the Uhuhu:kwe, a ceremonial society at Zuni Pueblo. The ceremonies and kivas (underground ritual spaces) of the Pueblos continued to exist under the Spanish colonial system from 1590 to the present. They held great fascination for Western observers after 1880, when New Mexico was connected to the railroad system and marketed for tourism.

Thus, these religions were under great pressure to reveal knowledge that was guarded and reserved only for initiates. Museums that wanted to satisfy the urge for spectacle and "exoticism" among researchers and the public created replicas of altars and ritual objects when originals were not available.

The complete Uhuhu:kwe altar was reproduced on the occasion of the BUGRA (World Book and Graphic Exhibition) in Leipzig in 1914. It was part of a pavilion on "non-literate peoples", in which the museum addressed the signs, symbolism and culture of Indigenous communities.

Frank Usbeck