Material Culture

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The Greek Slave, by Hiram Powers, was the single most celebrated work of sculpture in nineteenth-century America. Its pose—inspired by the well-known Medici Venus—represents a Christian girl captured by the Turks during the Greek War of Independence, for sale in the slave market of Constantinople. The statue inspired an outpouring of prose and poetry and became an anti-slavery symbol for abolitionists.

The Yale-van Rijn Photographic Archive comprises images of art from Africa south of the Sahara in collections worldwide. Currently there are more than 100,000 images of African art drawn from private and museum collections, dealers, general archives, and the existing body of literature including books, articles, notices, and auction catalogues. The archive may be useful for researchers interested in the impact of slavery on African culture or the evolution of African culture in the Americas. It is available for general research by appointment only.

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