Removal of the Parlements


The French Revolutionary engraving's depiction of the physical eviction of the black–robed magistrates in front of a female audience has a somewhat ambiguous message. On the one hand, noting the female figure on the dias in the back, this image could suggest excessive female authority at court, notably that of the Countess du Barry. On the other hand, the humiliation of the magistrates in... Read More »



This piece of crockery further demonstrates the sentiments of social unity so prevalent at the 1790 Festival of Federation celebrating the French Revolution. The crossed sword, pike, clerical staff, and bonnet symbolize the union of the nobility, peasants, clergy, and workers, respectively.

Rock Art, Khoisan


Rock art, found on the walls of caves and on moveable rocks, was once thought to depict simple images of the daily lives of the Khoisan. In the last 20 years, study of oral traditions and close attention to what is actually depicted in the paintings has led to a complete revision of this theory. Now it is believed that the images depict the experience of the trance dance, an integral part of... Read More »

Scotland Forever


Painted by Elizabeth Butler, Scotland Forever (1881), depicts the charge of the Heavy Cavalry at the battle of Waterloo fought in 1815. The British victory at Waterloo ended the Napoleonic Wars, and ensured Britain’s position as the worlds most dominant imperial power. Elizabeth Thompson, later Lady Butler, was a leading artist of military scenes in the late nineteenth century, and she... Read More »

Detail of an early modern map of the Malay Peninsula

Sejarah Melayu: The History of the Malay Peninsula

Internet resources dealing with Malaysian history are difficult to locate. Although this site has some shortcomings, it remains one of the most accessible sources for such information.

Shiva as the Lord of Dance


This manifestation of the Hindu god Shiva depicts the deity holding a small drum, which symbolizes the audible space that fills the universe, the sound of creative energy. Here, rhythm, drum, and music are manifestations of fundamental Hindu beliefs. At concerts of Indian music, audiences listen to drummers raptly and follow their complex rhythms in cycles. These cycles reflect cultural ideas... Read More »

Image of a sixteenth-century Ottoman carpet showing a portion of the carpet's main design field that contains a triple arch design with slender double columns and a hanging lamp in the central archway

Short Teaching Module: Early Modern Islamic Carpets as Transcultural Objects


Islamic carpets were ubiquitous in the early modern period (1500-1800) in Europe as much as it was in the Islamic world. They were important objects of decor within homes, imperial palaces, and religious buildings. These decorative art objects were produced in great numbers and in a variety of designs and techniques across the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. They,... Read More »

Six Part German Caricature: Napoleon Is Now Reduced to a Manageable Size!


Napoleon is mocked through this diminutive portrayal of the former conqueror.

Original Format

Physical Dimensions
18.8 x 25 cm

Title (French)
Caricature allemande à 6 compartiments, où l'on voit un brave Allemand qui, à l'instar du chat avec la souris, s'amuse à tourmenter Napoléon de diverses... Read More »

Small Terracotta Male


This figure measures only 12.4 centimeters tall. It dates from some time between the seventeenth and eighteenth century. It depicts a clothed male figure, with buttons running down the font of his outfit. It also features a stand at the back to balance the figure. The Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia de México, which houses this piece, has explained that these kinds of figures... Read More »

Son of Saint–Louis Going Up to Heaven . . .


Many scholars would argue that Louis XVI’s finest moment came from his bravery at his execution. Even when he was forbidden from saying a last few words to those gathered to see him executed, he remained unflinching, retaining his composure. Here one can see the confessor, Edgeworth de Firmont, selected by Louis himself. The executioner is a member of the Sanson family, well–known for their... Read More »