Inside the treasure chest
A Maori war club, a ‘unicorn tusk’ and a wax model of a dissected face are among the strange assortment of treasures going on display at the University of St Andrews’ Gateway Galleries this weekend (Saturday 24 August).
The new ‘Treasured’ exhibition (24 August – 14 December 2013) brings together many of the hidden gems of the University’s collections, some of which have never been on public display before.
The exhibition celebrates 600 years of teaching and discovery; covering Anatomy and Pathology, Chemistry, Ethnography, University Heritage, Historic Scientific Instruments, Psychology and Zoology.
- The 19th century Maori War Club – which would have been used to strike an opponent, breaking or dislocating their shoulder in order to disarm them before levelling the fatal blow to the head.
- The tusk of an arctic narwhal, which was thought in Medieval times to be a ‘unicorn tusk’ and considered to have magical, healing properties which could cure illnesses raging from epilepsy to the plague.
- An anatomical wax model of a head dissection – showing the arteries, tendons and intrinsic muscles of the face. In the 19th and early 20th centuries wax models were often used for teaching purposes instead of real bodies.
Also on display will be a pair of embroidered Gauntlet gloves from around 1600 and owned by Sir Henry Wardlaw, hand-blown chemistry glassware, and a hand-carved chair which belonged to Archbishop James Sharp.
Kirstin Bruges, Collections trainee at the University of St Andrews, said:
“This is a fantastic opportunity to see some of the rarely seen treasures hidden away in University corridors and stores. The mix of captivating objects from Maori war clubs to contemporary artworks illustrates the wide span of the University’s collections.”
A series of events will accompany the exhibition, including a behind-the-scenes walking tour and opportunities for families and children to get creative at workshops.
Treasured takes place at the Gateway Galleries, North Haugh, St Andrews from 24 August to 14 December. Opening times are Monday to Friday: 9am–3.45pm, Saturday 12 noon–3.45pm. Admission is free.
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