The Great Box and its child: replication, sensory knowledge, and repatriation

Pitt Rivers Museum Research Seminar in Visual, Material and Museum Anthropology

Michaelmas Term 2017

Fridays, 1pm-2.30pm, Lecture Theatre, Pitt Rivers Museum (entry off Robinson Close)

Convened by Marcus Banks.


The replication of the Great Box in the Pitt Rivers Museum by Haida carvers cannot be understood in terms of existing anthropological literature on replicas and authenticity.  Its meanings lie in the histories of collection from Haida Gwaii and in the roles of masterful art in the context of threats to Haida culture today; in the anthropology of enskilment and sensory knowledge; and in the recent history of the development of relationships between museums and Haida people to facilitate forms of repatriation. Such projects also pose significant challenges to the construction and control of knowledge within museums and the art world, and suggest the need for continuing decolonization of these spaces.