One of the most extraordinary paradoxes of archaeology, anthropology and art history is that small objects such as anthropomorphic figurines had huge affects on the people who made, used, handled, broke, played with, prayed to, and discarded them in the prehistoric past. In this talk Professor Bailey discusses the specific and long-lasting effects that Neolithic European (6000-3500 BC) figurines had on the way that ancient Europeans understood the world around them. The discussion will draw on research from across the sciences, social sciences, and art world, particularly on the psychology of scale, the archaeology of the Barbie Doll (and her fore-mother, Bild Lilli), bonsai trees, the miniature landscapes of Miklos Gaal and of Jonah Samson, Disney World, and the art of Michael Askin. In all, this talk reaches well beyond the traditional boundaries of archaeology and of art history. The result is a wondrous mix of thought and object that will be of interest to all.
Douglass Bailey, chair of Anthropology at San Francisco State University, has published extensively on prehistoric figurines and the archaeology of Eastern Europe. He has directed field projects in Bulgaria and Romania. His book Prehistoric Figurines: Representation and Corporeality in the Neolithic is one of the classic texts in the field of the archaeology and anthropology of art.
This lecture is presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Life in Miniature: Identity and Display at Ancient Seleucia-on-the-Tigris.
Reception follows the lecture