World Cultures

World Cultures

The World Cultures collection is closely linked to the history of the Ulster Museum and primarily covers material from the Arctic, Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Oceania (including Australia and New Zealand). Every object tells a story not only of the person who made or used it but also of the person who collected it.

Objects in the collection include baskets, masks, figures, tools and weapons, clothing and jewellery. One of the rarest items in the collection is a tapa cloth figure from Easter Island, which was recently displayed at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra alongside one of only two other known examples in the world.

In light of the decolonisation agenda within museums the implementation of a new approach to these collections is a priority for National Museums NI. We aim to be open and collaborative in our actions, to include multiple perspectives and encourage dialogue.

Repatriation and Restitution Proposals

National Museums NI welcomes enquiries about the repatriation or restitution of material in the World Cultures collections. All enquiries should be addressed to:

Anne Orr
Registrar
National Museums NI
Anne.orr@nmni.com
028 9039 5151

Please provide accession numbers (if known), information about the objects covered by the enquiry, and background as to why a return to the community of origin is being sought

Our Registrar will acknowledge receipt of the enquiry and schedule a meeting where the enquiry will be discussed in more detail. Following this meeting, and a period of further discussion and information gathering and sharing, a formal repatriation proposal may then be made to the Chief Executive Officer of National Museums NI. Our Registrar will discuss what information is required for the formal request. The Chief Executive Officer will acknowledge receipt of the formal proposal and provide an indicative timeline for the decision making process. The proposal will then be presented to National Museums NI’s Board of Trustees for their consideration, the outcome of which will be communicated to the interested parties in a timely manner.

Searchable list of collections

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TAPA; Cloak : Tapa

TAPA; Cloak : Tapa

Yellowish tapa with stamped ferns and flower decoration in red around the edge and intermittently overall....

Idol : Buddha

Idol : Buddha

Painted wooden figure of robed Buddha with flame finial. Shown in dhyana mudra (associated with meditation by the Buddha prior to Enlightment and with...

Hat : basketwork

Hat : basketwork

Attractive coil woven basket with unusual decoration. There are four vertical bands of diverging black arrowheads bordering a W design in brown and on...

MASK

MASK

Carved from single piece of light coloured wood, thinly painted white, black ornamentation on cheeks, eyes and lips, carved fringe round forehead...

Figure

Figure

Clothing carved to represent long robes, exaggeration of length of head and narrowness of face. Hands clasped in front of body holding what appears to...

Bowl

Bowl

Conventional border design punched with blunt instrument, made by natives from ammunition shell cases....

Hat : basketwork

Hat : basketwork

Strongly made coil woven hat with decoration consisting of five vertical panels of black, containing inverted reddish brown arrowheads, interspersed w...

Mask

Mask

Wooden mask painted blue with red lips and black moustache and eyebrows. The nostrils and ears are red. Masks like these were worn by secret dancing s...

CAN; Tea Can; Urn

CAN; Tea Can; Urn

Lidded metal container decorated cover in white, red, blue and black beads. 'Beads have been used both as currency and as jewellery since earliest tim...

Kachina doll

Kachina doll

Painted carved figure, sometimes called a doll. White and red ear pieces, pointed nose, holding a staff and rattle....

Arquebus stock; ramrod; lead shot

Arquebus stock; ramrod; lead shot

'Complete wooden stock of an arquebus (the lighter of the two forms of hand-gun); with it is its ramrod, 847mm lenght, and the lead ball found in the ...

Cook's third voyage

Cook's third voyage

Cook Atlas, second volume, constisting of maps and engraved illustrations. The Cook atlases cover the three epic voyages of Captain james Cook in the ...

King George III

King George III

This is one of a pair of whale scrimshaw teeth showing a have full-length portrait of George III (1760 – 1820) holding a crown and sceptre. The illust...

Ring

Ring

'Badly crushed gold ring; the bezel, now empty, had a setting for a single stone, the edges with pellet-decoration'. Flanagan, L. 'Ireland's Armada L...

Horse Trapping

Horse Trapping

Rope made of a number of fine silk cords with 13 silver plates suspended belowsed decoration. Silver knobs and long red silk cord at each end....

Sword

Sword

Sword, throwing Knife Sudan....

Basket : bottleneck

Basket : bottleneck

coil woven basket with design of chevron and open lozenge in black....

CHAIN; Gold chain

CHAIN; Gold chain

'Simple gold chain of 407 links, each 10mm long, of 2.5mm thick, gold wire, butt-jointed'. Flanagan, L. 'Ireland's Armada Legacy' (1988) p.193...

Hat : basketwork

Hat : basketwork

Coil woven hat with lightning pattern of solid brown in five units. One small row of yellow in each unit. Rim and base damaged and worn....

Frontlet

Frontlet

Wooden frontlet of hawk gripping the head of a beaver. There are holes along the top for feathers or walrus whiskers but these are now missing. Two po...

Basket : Bottleneck

Basket : Bottleneck

Coil woven bottleneck basket with rattlesnake pattern in brown and black on cream....

CHAIN; Gold chain

CHAIN; Gold chain

'Heavy gold chain consisting of 136 links, 13mm long, of 2mm thick gold wire, butt- jointed; some of the joints are slightly open'. Flanagan, L. 'Irel...

TAPA; Cloth : tapa figure

TAPA; Cloth : tapa figure

Small figure made from a vegetable fibre core within a sewn casing of tapa cloth. The figure has a large head and attenuated body. It is seated with t...

Cradle

Cradle

Strongly-made boat-shaped carrying cradle in imbricated basketwork. The sides are decorated with black and cream and red dyed cane and the carrying st...

Hat

Hat

Coil woven basket with three rows of lozenge design in brown at the rim....

Hat : basketwork

Hat : basketwork

Coil woven hat with double running chevron design at base and rim in black...

Mask

Mask

Mask used by Buddhist priests in Devils dance. 'Painted wooden mask worn in Kolam which is a musical dance drama of rural Sri Lanka. The performers we...

Box : food

Box : food

Square-kerfed bent wood box with deep relief carving of hawk's heads at either end, its wings emerging from the sides. Cowrie shells are inset into th...

Hat : basketwork

Hat : basketwork

Coil woven hat with six groups of lightning pattern in black and one fork of of lightning pattern abandoned. ....

Pipe head

Pipe head

Pipe head, four rows of knobs, ten in each row, belonged to King Dingaan of the Zulu....

Composite Chain, Gold with Pearls and Rubies

Composite Chain, Gold with Pearls and Rubies

'One of two elements of a composite chain, each more or less oval in outline, with a central raised square setting, in one of which a ruby survives; o...

SPEAR

SPEAR

Smooth fairly heavy wood that is split at the handle end of the shaft. Has been mended in 6 places by bulky wrappings of fibre covered with black gum....

Basket : bottleneck

Basket : bottleneck

Narrow-necked basket of coil weave with brown chevron at base and at greatest circumference. A row of nine male figures in brown is woven round the ba...

Figure

Figure

Representing IBO one of the JuJu gods, standing on circular base, head carved to show conical form of head dress, bead ornaments worn on neck, arm and...

Hat : basket

Hat : basket

Coil woven hat with broad band of rattlesnake pattern in brown and black below rim. Information on label `Bought from Lucy Chapo camp. Lucy, last of t...

Bodice : textile

Bodice : textile

Red and black bodice decorated with rows of white seeds. Worn by Karen women of Northern Thailand. The Karen are an indigenous minority group living ...

Tree Fern Head

Tree Fern Head

In Vanuatu, large ancestor figures were carved from tree ferns. The position of a man in his lifetime related directly to his status as an ancestor in...

Mask : Ekpo

Mask : Ekpo

Ekpo Society mask. This wooden mask shows a head ring (Idiong) of the higher ranks of the Ekpo society....

Cook's first and second voyage

Cook's first and second voyage

Cook atlas first volume illustrating the Pacific voyages of Captain Cook (c. 1785). There are two volumes, consisting of maps and engraved illustratio...

Figure

Figure

Representing Taiwo one of the JuJu gods, standing on circular base, head carved and face wood and bead, bracelets worn. When twins are born in Nigeria...

Basket : bottleneck

Basket : bottleneck

Beautifully woven coil weave basket with fairly sharp shoulder in cream with dark brown lozenge pattern in three zones....

Hat : basketwork

Hat : basketwork

Coil woven hat with five units of vertical arrowhead pattern in brown and black....

Salamander pendant, Gold and Rubies

Salamander pendant, Gold and Rubies

'Gold pendant in the form of a salamander, with four legs and two wings; the scales, mouth, teeth, eyes and nose are clearly modelled. Of the nine tab...

Dagger

Dagger

Dagger/katar...

Carved Wooden Figure

Carved Wooden Figure

Carved and painted wooden spirit figure painted blue, white, brown and black. The carving style with helmet-like hair, head sunk low into the shoulde...

Horoscope

Horoscope

Printed in colour on strip of native paper. When a child is born in India, a professional horoscope teller is called upon to predict its future. Indi...

"The incarnation of Krishnu"

"The incarnation of Krishnu"

Painting on glass depicting the Birth of Krishna. In centre a cobra with lotus, surmounted by Krishna depicted as human figure with flute, two figure...

Necklace or Collar, Gold with Lapis Lazuli and Pearl

Necklace or Collar, Gold with Lapis Lazuli and Pearl

'Necklace or Collar. Eleven of a presumed set of twelve mounts for portrait- cameos of Roman Emperors; six of the blue lapis lazuli portraits survive,...

Cloak

Cloak

cloak made of knotted string around which feathers have been wound. Bands of brownish black feathers, interspersed with several greenish feathers bord...

Hat

Hat

Hat for married Zulu woman Just as a wedding ring indicates married status in European countries, Zulu women of South Africa wear this style of hat a...

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