Bronzes are believed to have been cast in the Benin kingdom in what is now Nigeria since the 13th century. The ancient people of Benin are known for their remarkable bronze art. Almost all Benin art was created to honor the king, or Oba. Plaques like these were mounted on the walls of the Oba's Palace and recorded the history of the Benin kingdom
This beautifully hand painted fan from the 1800’s is gilded in gold with intricately carved bone sticks, and must have belonged to a lady of significant social standing. A Victorian woman flirted with her fan at social events. Each movement had a special meaning. Gentlemen learned the language of each flutter.
The Canada Goose, native to Canada and the northern United States, has a couple of unusual habits. In autumn, they fly south in their renowned V-shaped formation rotating the front position. They also mate for life. This stuffed goose obviously had a detour during its last migration and is now living in the South for good!
For centuries the Chinese weight scale measured herbs, medicines and precious gems. It was also used for illegal purposes measuring opium in the 1800’s, thus giving it the nickname “opium scales”. For portability, they were designed to fit neatly into wood cases shaped as a fish or violin.
The Dutch have been wearing wooden clogs since Medieval times. They keep the feet of fishermen dry, support farmers in muddy fields and protect factory workers from sharp tools and heavy objects. The wood shoes are cool in the summer and warm in the winter. They’re noisy on cobblestone, which led to the birth of clog dancing.
This leather-bound copy of a French newspaper published in 1934 has 336 pages and includes news from April through December. “Noir et Blanc” states the obvious. The newspaper is “black and white.”
Though widely considered to be Scotland’s national instrument, the bagpipe didn’t originate in Scotland. Its predecessor, a simple reed pipe, can be traced to Egypt as least as far back as 2500 B.C. Among Highland clans, the bagpipes were taught and passed down through the generations, with particular melodies becoming synonymous with certain families
For centuries this copper X-shaped ingot, usually referred to as a Katanga Cross, was used as currency in the Katanga province of Zaire. African currency was often cast of metal which was a way of storing wealth in a form that might be melted down and refashioned into a tool or a weapon if the need arose. The Katanga cross was used to trade for goods and even for brides.
Used in Buddhist ceremonies and rituals, this 10’ Dung Chen is a brass instrument has the capacity to produce extremely low, powerful notes that resemble the sound of elephants calling. Traditionally two horns are played in unison, and are usually built as matching sets.
Breastplates have been used as protection from injury since ancient times. Native tribes fashioned theirs from animal parts, such as hides, bone and fur, as well as beads and other decorative items secured from traders. Breastplates such as these are still worn in tribal dances and religious ceremonies.
Ever wonder where lost baggage goes? If the airline doesn't get it back to you within 90 days, it may wind up at Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Ala., where it will be sold off at a fraction of retail value. You'd be amazed at the treasures. Here are some of the more unusual and rare finds.