Travels with Dick and Karen


Part 11: Inside
Musée du Quai Branly


The Quai Branley is France's leading indigenous and primitive arts museum.

Unlike the other museums we visited, this is housed in a brand new purpose-built structure.

As a whole it is very dimly lit so many of our photos were blurry (light fades paint etc. so they want to use as little as possible). The entryway's spiral ramp (the "river") with projected moving words flowing down takes you up a couple of floors while getting you dark adapted.

Quai Branly
The spiral ramp leads up through the exhibits around a wide central cylindrical windowed column. The column serves as storage for thousands of instruments from all over the world. You can only look through the glass into this storage area on a normal visit. Actual entry is by special permission for folks wanting to study the instruments. usée du Quai Branley

One part of the fun of a French museum's view of the world is that the focus is on the parts of the world where French is spoken: French Polynesia, SW Asia, west Africa; places not seen in most English displays. This dual-language map highlights the displays in this area of the museum.

The column is the oval on the right, the spiral ramp brought us up to the word Sortie on the left.

usée du Quai Branley

Is it only coastal cultures that go in for tall iconography? 

usée du Quai Branley
In many primitive cultures, masks are a big thing...  usée du Quai Branley
... along with the materials and purposes of plaited and woven items.   usée du Quai Branley
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Spear tips...  usée du Quai Branley

Fabrics woven for depth effects 

usée du Quai Branley
What came from where, using the same object photos as the earlier floor map  usée du Quai Branley


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Japanese warrior's armor  usée du Quai Branley
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Ikat usée du Quai Branley
What the best dressed camel wears. usée du Quai Branley
Silks...  usée du Quai Branley
...wood...  usée du Quai Branley
... gold  usée du Quai Branley
Quai Branly became the new home for collections from the musée de l’Homme and the musée national des Arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie. Ancestor statues gaze out, backed by a timeline of the royalty and history of Danhomè (Dahomey, which became part of French West Africa, and which is now Benin) since 1500.  usée du Quai Branley

A custom made set of figurines showing the chief presiding over a decapitation ceremony in a particular African tribe (made for the local French officials if I remeber correctly)

usée du Quai Branley

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More gold  usée du Quai Branley
Dragon-themed carvings  usée du Quai Branley
Setting up the next exhibit. Just after we passed through the Americas section, it was surrounded by barricade ribbons and the curators went to work rearranging it. usée du Quai Branley
Viewed from the outside, the Quai Branly building is an irregular collection of protuding boxes and shapes.
From the inside, one wedge revealed itself as a special window with an obvious single purpose.
usée du Quai Branley

Back to Main Travel Page

The Neighborhood Along the Seine
North Loop South to NE Boise Vincennes & B. Boulogne Versailles
Inside the Larger Museums: Louvre Arts Décoratifs Orsay Guimet (Asian art) Quai Branly

Back to Main Travel Page


all text and images copyright Karen and Dick Seymour 2012,
and may not be reproduced without written permission

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