A Mancunian Mantra: Part III

The Dalai Lama finally touched down at Manchester Airport yesterday. Over the next several days he will address a congregation of literally thousands at the MEN Arena.

Upon his arrival at the Lowry Hotel he greeted Salford mayor Ian Stewart with a customary Tibetan scarf ceremony. We have several textiles from Tibet in the Living Cultures collection, including a shawl and prayer flags.

The shawl was donated by Ms L Start and is expertly woven with geometric and animal designs. It is likely to date around the early 19th century.

Shawl. Tibet, Asia. Early 19th century. The Manchester Museum Living Cultures Collection.

The prayer flags were donated in 1955 by Prof. Rev Lawrence E Browne and depcit the wind horse, or lungta. In Tibetan Buddhist belief the wind horse represents good fortune.

Prayer flags. Tibet, Asia. 1955. The Manchester Museum Living Cultures Collection.

Here’s hoping the Dalai Lama’s visit is a successful one.

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A Mancunian Mantra: Part II

It’s only several weeks now until the Dalai Lama visits Manchester, and as promised I have more wonderful Tibetan objects from the Living Cultures collection to share with you.

In 1969 Salford Museum transferred their collection of ethnography to the Manchester Museum, included in this transfer was an ornate Tibetan brass tea-pot.

Brass tea-pot. Tibet. 1800-1899. The Manchester Museum Living Cultures collection.

Such tea-pots are used in Buddhist monasteries in Tibet to provide monks with refreshment during their remarkably long ceremonies. This particular tea-pot is likely to have been made and used in the 19th century, making it over 100 years old. Similar in age is a wooden tea-bowl intricately decorated with skulls and Buddhas made from brass, silver and turquoise.

Tea bowl. Tibet. 1800-1899. The Manchester Living Cultures collection.

 The bowl was collected by Arnold Forrester Warden, a collector passionate about East Asia, and donated to the Museum in 1964.

I’ll be back in June with part III and more fascinating Tibetan objects.

Way Out North West

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West company spent several weeks  in Salford in 1887 and the Manchester Museum has some very special, and unique, material relating to this occurance.

 

Buffalo Bill's Wild West show poster, 1899 (Not part of the Manchester Museum collection)

 

In pervious blog posts I’ve detailed this material (https://mancultural.wordpress.com/2011/01/19/the-return-of-red-shirt/) but if you’d like to find out more I’ll be giving a talk this Friday at 1pm in the Museum as part of the Manchester Histories Festival. Please do feel free to drop in but do be aware that space is limited so be punctual!

Stephen Terence Welsh

Curator of Living Cultures

The Lost Salford Sioux

Several months ago now I had the good fortune to meet playwright Anjum Malik. Anjum was conducting research into the Native American performers who accompanied Buffalo Bill during their stay in Salford in the later 19th century. This research formed the basis of her play which was commissioned by BBC Radio 3 to celebrate the opening of the BBC North’s new premises at Salford Quays in 2011. I was able to share with Anjum some of the wonderful archival material in the Living Cultures collection related to this historical event, specifically the portrait of Oglala Lakota Chief Red Shirt as taken by Salfordian photographer C.R. Brandis.

Red Shirt, Oglala Lokota Chief, Late 19th Century, Salford, UK. The Manchester Museum Living Cultures collection, 2012.

Reverse of Red Shirt portrait showing Brandis stamp, Late 19th Century, Salford, UK. The Manchester Museum Living Cultures collection, 2012.

Excitingly the completed play will be broadcast this coming Sunday at 20:30. Anjum has kindly acknowledged the support of the Museum on the BBC Radio 3 webpage, for more information please follow the link below:

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0195pz0

Do tune in!

Stephen Terence Welsh

Curator of Living Cultures

The Return of Red Shirt

The discovery of some archival material has caused somewhat of a  stir amongst local journalists recently (http://www.salfordonline.com/salfordvideos_page/25466-video:_salford_big_chief_found_in_manchester_museum.html). The material consists of a letter addressed to a Mr. Brode written on Buffalo Bill official stationery and a photograph of an  American Indian called Red Shirt.

The Manchester Museum Living Cultures collection, 2011

The letter is dated 1888 and was written by Buffalo Bill’s secretary S. Hanfield.  From November 1887 Buffalo Bill’s Wild West company was encamped on the banks of the River Irwell, Salford, Greater Manchester, and would remain there performing to crowds of local people for several months.

Red Shirt, Oglala Lokota Chief, Late 19th Century, Salford, UK. The Manchester Museum Living Cultures collection, 2011.

Hanfield states in the letter that he also sent Brode a pair of moccasins  which were made at ‘Pine Ridge Indian Agency, Dakota, U.S.A.‘ and worn by Red Shirt during performances. Red Shirt was a Oglala Lakota American Indian and to this day his people live at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota. The photograph, taken by Salford photographer C.R. Brandis, is the only known image of Red Shirt taken during his time in Salford.

Moccasins, Late 19th Century, USA. The Manchester Museum Living Cultures collection, 2011.

In 1928 Mr. Freston, chair of The Manchester Museum Committee at the time, donated a pair of moccasins which he claimed belonged to an ‘Indian Chief’. It is possible that these moccasins are the ones mentioned in the letter.

Stephen Terence Welsh

Curator of Living Cultures