Tesoros Escondidos presents a selection of the most beautiful, rare, and well-documented objects from Mexico preserved by the Hearst Museum. Although these important pieces have been accumulating since the museum's founding in 1901, only a few have ever been exhibited before.
The Collection. From important early collections from museum founder Phoebe A. Hearst and her friend Zelia Nuttall, archaeologist and ethnohistorian, the Mexican collections have now grown to about 3,000 ethnographic objects, in addition to thousands of archaeological artifacts. Much of the museum's Mexican holdings was gathered by George M. Foster, UC professor of anthropology (1953-79), along with his many students and colleagues. Other prominent collectors were Donald and Dorothy Cordry, who donated a large collection of masks, and Katharine Jenkins, who collected lacquerware and a wide range of folk crafts.
The collections are quite comprehensive, including objects from the Indian peoples, the majority mestizo (mixed Spanish and Indian) population, as well as the Hispanic elites. While some objects were created self-consciously as tourist and folk arts for sale to outsiders, much of the collection was made for use in daily life. A wide range of forms and media is represented, with regional strengths in the central and southern states. While most of the items were collected in the 1950s and 1960s, some pieces date as far back as the seventeenth century.
The Exhibit. Objects were first selected on their individual merits, and then grouped by their primary function within Mexican culture. In this format, objects from all over the country and many periods are placed together. At the same time, an effort was made to include as wide a range as possible of materials, forms, uses, and regions.
With room here for only a sampling, the Hearst Museum looks forward to future opportunities of uncovering its Mexican treasures.
This exhibition was made possible in part by a generous grant from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, by Professor George M. Foster, and by the annual support of the museum's donors and members.
View the visual anthropology exhibition Tzintzuntzan Mexico: Photographs by George Foster.
Note to Web Viewers
Due to various practical limitations, the web version of Tesoros Escondidos is selective and does not fully represent the structure and content of the exhibit as originally conceived and displayed in the Hearst Museum gallery. All the main sections, however, are included.
Exhibition Credits and Acknowledgments
Principal curatorial consultant: Alejandro de Avila Blomberg
Consultants: Stanley Brandes, George Foster, Rosemary Joyce,
M. Steven Shackley, William Taylor
Exhibit Design and Production:
Matthew Kimmins, Benjamin Peters, Byron Montague
Silk screen printing: Jana DuLava
Digital editing and motion graphics: Justin Moline
Materials and services: Teresa Smith, Oakland Sign-a-Rama, Photosprint, Kimera Type Foundry (Mexico City)
Volunteers: Emelia Brown, Eric Jung, Manda Maples, Elizabeth Minor, Caitlin Schloss, Ryan Turner, Andrew Washburn
Volunteers: Tatiana Brovko, Christine England, Charlotte Jacobs, Susan Laing
Victoria Bradshaw, Leslie Freund, Therese Babineau
Work-study students: Cyrus Card, Danielle Woody
Registration and Information Systems:
Joan Knudsen, Joshua Meehan, Elizabeth Minor
Harriet Goldman, Nicole Mullen
Spanish translations of educational materials: Martha L. Beltrán
Docents: Burton Benedict, Mariette Malessy, Maria Norall, Margaret Pillsbury, John Ramirez
Summer volunteers/interns: Elizabeth Lesch, Christina Newhall, Vanessa Schevill Sinai
Douglas Sharon, Cynthia Clearwater, Margaret Pico, Marilyn Barulich,