Golgotha. The cult of skulls. Extended version
The human cranium has been the subject of various exhibitions and publications in the last few decades. As an allegory of death, an evocation of the macabre, or an exotic artefact, it continues to arouse the curiosity and interest of a broad audience. In the fields of anthropology and ethnology, the skull is a perennial topic and a study material. It is the memory of evolution, a remembrance of the past. In ancient cultures and tribal societies, it was a bridge between the living and the dead, a sign of social prestige and an object of religious veneration. These different aspects have been discussed before, often confining to the purely scholar perspective of a scientific or historical context, neglecting the artistic dimension of the objects. My aim with this book was to gather a comprehensive collection of these ritual skulls and heads, representative of the most authentic styles encountered in different civilizations around the world, and selected both for their cultural significance and aesthetic qualities. As human remains these objects were sacred for the people who kept them, and they deserve all our respect ; as works of art they earn our admiration because they are extraordinary creations, an homage to the ancestors, and a celebration of life. Isn’t this the real purpose of art ?
Catalogue of 224 pages from the 2014 Parcours des Mondes exhibition in Paris, with contributions by Prof. Christian Coiffier and Thomas Schultze-Westrum. Limited edition. A book of reference!
This extended version contains detailed essays with numerous photos by scholar Thomas Schultze-Westrum on the cult of skulls in the Papuan Gulf and an essay by Dr. Christian Coiffier on the overmodeled heads in the Middle-Sepik region.