An Infinity of Nations
In October 2010, a spectacular permanent exhibition of 700 works of art from throughout Native North, Central and South America will open at the Heye Center in New York. Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian will demonstrate the great depth of the museum’s collections and explore the historic importance of many of these magnificent objects.
More than forty Native historians and community members have collaborated with the museum to interpret highlighted objects, including ten works that will serve as focal points. These key pieces will demonstrate the degree to which Native America was interconnected before European peoples arrived and reveal how the visual arts were often important vehicles in this exchange.
Inuit tuilli or woman’s inner parka, ca. 1925, Nunavut.This finely crafted and elaborately beaded Inuit tuilli or woman’s inner parka, was made from caribou skin for the mother of a newborn baby. –The mother keeps her baby protected from the harsh Arctic weather in the warmth of her parka by carrying the baby in a special carrying pouch at the back of the parka. With the intensification of European exploration and trade in the Arctic in the 19th century, brightly colored glass beads, referred to as sapangat ("precious stones"), became more widely available and were used elaborately to decorate tuilli. This Inuit tuilli is the focal point for the Arctic region.