ainu

Ainu Collection

The distinctive art, tools, clothing, and religious objects of the Ainu people of northern Japan have been avidly collected for decades. One especially active collector was Frederick Starr (1858-1933), the University of Chicago’s first anthropologist. Starr developed a large exhibition of Ainu material and recruited a “life group” of nine Ainu people for the 1904 World’s Fair, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. Starr conducted fieldwork among the Ainu in Hokkaido in 1904 and 1910 and acquired Ainu material from other sources as well. In 1960, the Logan Museum acquired 68 of Starr’s Ainu objects including textiles, adornment, and household and religious items. The Logan Museum and the Brooklyn Museum are the only institutions that house objects from Starr’s Ainu work; notes and photo documentation also exist at the University of Chicago and University of Oregon.

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