by Beth M. Wilkins, Collections Manager

Luella and Oscar Buros at Equator sign near Nanzuki, Kenya.
December 1961, elevation 6,389 feet.
The Anthropology Division at the University of Nebraska State Museum contains a small, plain African ornament. It is not something that you would necessarily see on display, but its primary value as a research item is top-notch. It is part of the 1995 Luella Buros bequest, a collection of ethnographic material that, because of its size and detailed documentation, has generated a lengthy research project.

The entire collection is made up of approximately 1,200 items of all sizes, materials, and manufacture that were collected over the last four decades. It contains incredible masks and statues, costumes with elaborate embroidery, weapons, musical instruments, games, household goods and other items. Some items are extremely intricate and others are of simple construction. They are made of wood, copper, aluminum, silver, brass, ivory, bone, leather, and a variety of plant materials. They constitute a wide array of the material culture from an as yet undetermined number of countries. The collection comes from at least four continents, and many of the items purchased in the later years are from dealers of ethnographic material and foreign art, but much of the early African material was purchased "in the field". . . often right from the person wearing or using the items.

From the American Southwest and California are Navaho rugs and pots, fantastic Hopi Kachinas, and tiny coiled, horsehair baskets made by the Papago Indians; there is a Tarahumara drum and a Coyotepec figure from Mexico, Yanamamo baskets from Brazil, temple rubbings from Thailand, bells from Bali and Tibet, small bronze figures from Nepal, and gourds, necklaces, and baskets manufactured by the Huacayo and Ticuna people in Peru and Brazil.
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