Seminar on anthropological artefacts

Staff Reporter

Discussion on relationship between anthropology and museums

CHENNAI: Archaeology is a sub-field of anthropology that gives depth to the testing of cultural and physical hypotheses, Jakka Parthasarathy, director, Tribal Research Centre, Udhagamandalam, said on Thursday.

He was participating in a seminar on `Acquisition and augmentation of anthropological artefacts: problems and perspectives', organised by the Government Museum, Chennai, and the Anthropological Survey of India, Kolkata.

The relationship between anthropology and museums reflected multi-socio-cultural dimension, he said. Museums often contain impressive examples of the anthropology of tribal, rural and urban societies, Dr. Parthasarathy said.

M.D. Muthukumaraswamy, director, National Folklore Support Centre, Chennai, inaugurated an exhibition of tribal artefacts.

He said any object that contained cultural information was an anthropological artefact. "The statue which is infused with life in a temple becomes a piece of artefact in a museum. If the value of the piece does not come through at the exhibitory stage it is not good to be exhibited at all," he said.

It was important to provide the cultural history and belief behind any article that placed as an exhibit, he said.

Kannagi Packianathan, director, Department of Tribal Welfare, said tribal pockets had gone through lots of transitions. At least 54 departments were doing some work or the other for the well being of tribals in Tamil Nadu. "We are expecting the tribals to get into the mainstream of life," she said.

C. Maheswaran, curator for Anthropology, Government Museum; M.A. Siddique, director of Museums, and V. Jeyaraj, curator, Chemical Conservation, spoke.