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June 2011 More than...... “Just Good Friends”?

an attentive audience, many familiar and some not-so- familiar faces, who listened at the outset to a few affectionate words from Nicky Moeran about her lovely parents, Kenneth and Deborah Kirkwood.


English fox-hunting, managing to avoid any moral slant by concentrating on the process, the progression of a hunt, in which it is the hounds, he emphasized, who


hunt the fox, and the riders who try to make sure the day unfolds with due drama. As much as anything, the participants hope for an aesthetic experience. The fox must be allowed to pit its wits against the hounds as the hunt moves along to their baying song.

fossils can corroborate’ – followed Man’s journey from his beginnings in Africa through his evolution in Eurasia, and back to Africa where he developed into what Dr Kingdon describes as a ‘niche thief’ – one who, because he grabs the most life- enhancing habitats, lives to thrive and to procreate. These fossils exhibit, he maintains contrary to Darwin, that it is behaviour that leads morphological change. We have these three fossils of ground apes, not hominids, which illustrate aspects of change toward human development, such as flat feet. It was a most thought-provoking exposition packed with information.


role of three animal categories in Polynesian and Greco-Roman myths. Serpents, birds and marine animals appear to serve as


ofia Vougioukalou with Maria Kokolak compared and contrasted the metaphysical

volutionary biologist Jonathan Kingdon – an ‘African mammal as three new

rofessor Gary Marvin spoke on

he 9th Kenneth Kirkwood Day on Man’s Relationship with Animals saw

media between humans and spiritual entities. They feature in omens, sacrifices (that may have replaced human sacrifices) and rituals that reinforce the social and moral order. In both mythologies Gods and spirits communicate their will and wrath to humans by associating with animals through the processes of mediumship, spiri t possession and metamorphosis. Courting eels, disobedient daughters, chivalrous sharks, strong-willed fish, messenger kingfishers and guardian lizards in Polynesian myths were compared with sea monsters, death-signaling crows, apotropaic eagle symbols, guiding doves, holy snakes and chthonic lizards in Graeco-roman myths. These comparisons were further contextualised into variations found between early Mangaian, Maori, Tahitian and Hesiodic, Pelasgian, Orphic cosmogonic accounts of the separation of night and day; and the creation of the first gods, humans and animals. I would love to have had longer to enjoy the sheer beauty of the design in these creations.

rooms. I remain a happy sceptic – there were listeners on both sides of the divide – but whichever, all loved this lecture.

by Penny Dransart. While British smallholder farmers of llamas and alpacas in Wales rely on haltering and harnessing these small camelids, the indigenous Aymara speakers of northern Chile more ingeniously co-opt the natural animal leaders of their herds to delegate commands on their behalf!


raditonal knowledge of animal social behaviour was highlighted in the last talk


upert Sheldrake, author of “A New Science of Life”, enchanted and

disconcerted his audience by turn. His subject, telepathy between man and his pets, held us in thrall – and I for one felt very happy that such a topic was being taken seriously. His illustrations were of a dog that knew when his mistress was coming home, and of a parrot that knew what his mistress was thinking even when they were in different

With a little help from the Friends

In September 2011, The International Council for Museums Committee for Conservation, (ICOM-CC) will be holding it’s 16th Triennial Conference in Lisbon, Portugal. These conferences are regarded by conservators as the most important venue for learning about current developments within the profession, and are attended by colleagues from museums all over the world. To have a paper or poster accepted by the ICOM-CC Triennial is regarded as an achievement, and all three of our conservators have

been successful this year – Heather Richardson, Head of Conservation, will present a paper on the Blackfoot Shirts’ Project, while Kate Jackson and Jeremy Uden have had posters accepted – the only two posters on the subject of ethnographic conservation that will be displayed. Jeremy Uden’s poster is on the conservation of our Tahitian Mourner’s costume, (pictured right), a highly iconic and important part of our collections. The Friends have contributed £500 towards this conference.

The day was organized brilliantly by Shahin Bekhradnia, yet again. A delicious lunch, (need one say it?) was provided, mainly from the Friends’ Cook Book, by Liz Yardley and her energetic team, and a lively atmosphere prevailed throughout. The KK Day is certainly my favourite Friends’ event of the year.

Barbara Topley

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