Friday, April 17, 2015

Aztec cards

more wonderful cards from the British Museum include

a mask of the creator god Texcatlipoca made with turquoise and shell. He was the primary Aztec deity, celebrated in May. He represents many concepts including night, warfare, shamanism and kingship. He was often symbolized with obsidian (volcanic stone) and mirrors. The museum website offers more info of the object at:

This item was worn as an ornament and is wood, covered with turquoise chips. Snakes were associated with the god Quetzalcoatl and other deities. Turquoise was an important trade & tribute product obtained from the north and was associated with the Toltec, a powerful pre-Aztec society. Aztec rulers favored the color blue. More info on this object and other examples of Aztec turquoise art can be found at:

Mandan dance

Its always wonderful to get cards new to my collection...a dear friend sent 3 purchased from the British Museum's gift store. Here is Karl Bodmer's view of a Mandan dance. Bodmer was a German artist who traveled with Prince Maxmillian on a trip into the American west in 1833. They visited the Mandan, Arikara and Hidatsa, 3 powerful tribes whose economy was based on agriculture and trade as well as hunting. Bodmer, like American artist George Catlin, painted scenes of these communities just before a smallpox epidemic would reduce their populations significantly and leave them vulnerable to the Lakota.

The image may look familiar...before making "Dances with Wolves" production staff closely examined Bodmer and Catlin paintings for details on Native American clothing, ceremonial regalia and weapons. This illustration influenced the bison hunting dance; for more info see Dances with Wolves: The Illustrated Story of the Epic Film, Newmarket Press (1990)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

more great Canadian cards!

I did a trade with a Canadian member of Postcrossing some time back and her lovely cards sat on my desk waiting to be added to my blog. These are nice cards, quite different from the usual ones Canadians are able to find in their shops and they are a nice addition to my collection!!

In the US we have the Fancy Shawl Dance done by young women but this is different and the card offers little information other than indicating these are members of the Ojibway tribe dancing near Thunder Bay Ontario.

A recreated camp scene is featured here...Ojibway women participate in an encampment located at Old Fort William, Thunder Bay Ontario. This historical park celebrates the 1800s fur trade which included blended French/Native families. Ojibway interpreters help park visitors understand First Nations culture including the tree bark homes known as wigwam.


Most of my blog posts are about cards that I have received via Postcrossing, friends and even my own shopping, but this post is about a card I am mailing off. I recently saw a wishlist post on the Postcrossing forum from a European member seeking ancient cultures including Maya and Inca cards. These are not commonly shared in the group as there are few members in Mexico or Peru and not many members really travel to such places. So I decided to offer one of my own cards...I pick up a variety of international culture cards to share with my students and try to have Mayan cards on hand. I had one left in the binder so I will mail it to Lisa and share the fun!!

Tulum is a coastal site north of Cancun and this temple is dedicated to the God of Wind. It is a late-Classic and Post-Classic site that moved salt into the interior.