Transformation


Feline-Head Bottle
Multiple points of view are combined in the decoration of this vessel, tip it and see!

Feline-Head Bottle


North Wind mask
The Yup’ik peoples, in one of the world’s coldest climates, made these ceremonial masks during the long winters.

North Wind Mask


“I have gazed into the face of Agamemnon,” boasted the man who discovered it—but is it really the Homeric hero?

Mask of Agamemnon


Correggio, Jupiter and Io, detail
With her open mouth, tilted head, and soft flesh, Io exudes sensuality, giving herself up willingly to Jupiter.

Correggio, Jupiter and Io




Doe Shaman
We don’t know what the makers of this figure called her, but we can tell that she is at once human and animal.

Doe Shaman Effigy



El Anatsui, Untitled, 2009, repurposed printed aluminum, copper, 256.5 × 284.5 × 27.9 cm as installed (Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington D.C.)
The artist transforms metal from alcohol bottles into textiles that represent libations for ancestors.

El Anatsui, Untitled





Olmec
This was buried in an offering at an Aztec temple, some 1500 years later and far from where it was made.

Olmec mask





Man Ray, Gift, c. 1958 (replica of 1921 original), painted flatiron and tacks, 15.3 x 9 x 11.4 cm (The Museum of Modern Art, New York)
Man Ray takes a common household object and renders it strange, dysfunctional, and dangerous.

Man Ray, The Gift



Lygia Clark, Bicho, 1962, aluminum (photo: trevor.patt, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Described by Clark as a “non object,” Bicho can take many shapes, and is manipulated by the viewer.

Lygia Clark, Bicho



Native American Northwest
Wearers can toggle between the faces of animals and mythical beings—all with the tug of a string.

Transformation masks


The Paracas Textile
This nearly 2000-year-old old textile survives thanks to the arid environment of southern Peru where it was buried.

The Paracas Textile