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ielts reading test - the department of ethnography

A
The Department of Ethnography was created as a separate deportment within the British Museum in 1946, offer 140 years of gradual development from the original Department of Antiquities. If is concerned with the people of Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Pacific and parts of Europe. While this includes complex kingdoms, as in Africa, and ancient empires, such as those of the Americas, the primary focus of attention in the twentieth century has been on small-scale societies. Through its collections, the Department's specific interest is to document how objects are created and used, and to understand their importance and significance to those who produce them. Such objects can include both the extraordinary and the mundane, the beautiful and the banal.

B

The collections of the Department of Ethnography include approximately 300,000 artefacts, of which about half are the product of the present century. The Department has o vital role to play in providing information on non-Western cultures to visitors and scholars. To this end, the collecting emphasis has often been less on individual objects than on groups of material which allow the display of a broad range of o society's cultural expressions.

C

Much of the more recent collecting was carried out in the field, sometimes by Museum staff working on general anthropological projects in collaboration with a wide variety of national governments and other institutions. The material collected includes great technical series - for instance, of textiles from Bolivia, Guatemala, Indonesia and at areas of West Africa - or of artefact types such as boats. The latter include working examples of coracles from India, reed boars from Lake Titicaca in the Andes, kayaks from the Arctic, and dug-out canoes from several countries. The field assemblages, such as those from the Sudan, Madagascar and Yemen, include a whole range of material culture representative of one people. This might cover the necessities of life of an African herdsman or on Arabian farmer, ritual objects, or even on occasion airport art. Again, a series of acquisitions might represent a decade's fieldwork documenting social experience as expressed in the varieties of clothing and jewellery styles, tents and camel trappings from various Middle Eastern countries, or in the developing preferences in personal adornment and dress from Papua New Guinea. Particularly interesting are a series of collections which continue to document the evolution of ceremony and of material forms for which the Department already possesses early (if nor the earliest) collections formed after the first contact with Europeans.

D

The importance of these acquisitions extends beyond the objects themselves. They come fo the Museum with documentation of the social context, ideally including photographic records. Such acquisitions have multiple purposes. Most significantly they document for future change. Most people think of the cultures represented in the collection in terms of the absence of advanced technology. In fact, traditional practices draw on a continuing wealth of technological ingenuity. Limited resources and ecological constraints are often overcome by personal skills that would be regarded as exceptional in the West. Of growing interest is the way in which much of what we might see as disposable is, elsewhere, recycled and reused.

E

With the Independence of much of Asia and Africa after 1945, if was assumed that economic progress would rapidly lead to the disappearance or assimilation of many small-scale societies. Therefore, it was felt that the Museum should acquire materials representing people whose art or material culture, ritual or political structures were on the point of irrevocable change. This attitude altered with the realization that marginal communities can survive and adapt In spire of partial integration into a notoriously fickle world economy. Since the seventeenth century, with the advent of trading companies exporting manufactured textiles to North America and Asia, the importation of cheap goods has often contributed to the destruction of local skills and indigenous markets. On the one hand modern imported goods may be used in an everyday setting, while on the other hand other traditional objects may still be required for ritually significant events. Within this context trade and exchange attitudes are inverted. What are utilitarian objects to a Westerner may be prized objects in other cultures - when transformed by local ingenuity - principally for aesthetic value. In the some way, the West imports goods from other peoples and in certain circumstances categorizes them as ‘art'.

F

Collections act as an ever-expanding database, nor merely for scholars and anthropologists, bur for people involved in a whole range of educational and artistic purposes. These include schools and universities as well as colleges of art and design. The provision of information about non-Western aesthetics and techniques, not just for designers and artists but for all visitors, is a growing responsibility for a Department whose own context is an increasingly multicultural European society.

Ethnography: The scientific study of different cultures and societies.
Example: The Department of Ethnography focuses on documenting cultural practices and traditions.

Deportment: A specific division or department within an organization.
Example: The Department of Ethnography was created as a separate deportment within the British Museum.

Artefact: An object made by humans, typically of cultural or historical interest.
Example: The Department of Ethnography houses approximately 300,000 artefacts from various non-Western cultures.

Mundane: (adj.) Lacking interest or excitement; dull.
Example: The collection includes both extraordinary and mundane objects from everyday life.

Assemblages: Collections or groupings of objects.
Example: The field assemblages represent a wide range of cultural expressions and material culture.

Ecological: (adj.) Relating to the relationships between organisms and their environment.
Example: The Department studies the ecological impact of cultural practices on different societies.

Ingenuity: Cleverness and originality in solving problems or creating new things.
Example: Traditional practices often demonstrate a wealth of technological ingenuity despite limited resources.

Assimilation: The process of adapting or integrating into a new culture or society.
Example: Marginal communities have shown the ability to assimilate and adapt in spite of economic changes.

Fickle: (adj.) Likely to change frequently and without warning.
Example: The world economy is known for its fickle nature, affecting small-scale societies.

Aesthetics: The branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and appreciation of beauty.
Example: The Department provides information on non-Western aesthetics and artistic techniques.

The Department of Ethnography was established within the British Museum in 1946.

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The Department of Ethnography focuses solely on the people of Africa and the Americas.

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The primary interest of the Department of Ethnography is to understand the cultural significance of objects.

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The collections of the Department of Ethnography consist mainly of ancient artifacts.

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The Department of Ethnography conducts fieldwork to collect materials.

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The field assemblages collected by the Department represent various aspects of material culture.

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The Department of Ethnography focuses on documenting social experiences through clothing and jewelry styles.

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The acquisition of objects by the Department is primarily for aesthetic value.

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The Department of Ethnography plays a role in providing information about Western aesthetics and techniques.

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The collections of the Department of Ethnography are only useful for scholars and anthropologists.

Correct! Wrong!

ielts reading test - the department of ethnography (T & F)

What is the primary focus of the Department of Ethnography?
Answer: The primary focus of the Department of Ethnography is on small-scale societies.

How many artifacts are included in the collections of the Department of Ethnography?
Answer: The collections of the Department of Ethnography include approximately 300,000 artifacts.

What is the role of the Department of Ethnography in providing information?
Answer: The Department of Ethnography provides information on non-Western cultures to visitors and scholars.

How were many of the recent acquisitions collected by the Department of Ethnography?
Answer: Many of the recent acquisitions were collected in the field by Museum staff working on anthropological projects.

What types of material culture are represented in the field assemblages collected by the Department?
Answer: The field assemblages include a range of material culture representative of different people, including necessities of life, ritual objects, and artwork.

What is the significance of the acquisitions that come with documentation of the social context?
Answer: The acquisitions with documentation provide insight into the social context and future changes in the cultures represented.

What is the relationship between limited resources and technological ingenuity?
Answer: Limited resources often require personal skills and technological ingenuity to overcome ecological constraints.

How did the attitude towards acquiring materials change after 1945?
Answer: The attitude shifted from assuming the disappearance of small-scale societies to recognizing their ability to survive and adapt.

How has the importation of cheap goods affected local skills and indigenous markets?
Answer: The importation of cheap goods has often contributed to the destruction of local skills and indigenous markets.

Who can benefit from the collections of the Department of Ethnography?
Answer: The collections benefit scholars, anthropologists, educational institutions, and artistic purposes, such as schools, universities, and colleges of art and design.

What is the primary focus of attention for the Department of Ethnography?

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How many artefacts are included in the collections of the Department of Ethnography?

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What role does the Department of Ethnography play in providing information?

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Where was much of the recent collecting carried out?

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What type of material is included in the field assemblages?

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What is the importance of the acquisitions to the Museum?

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What are traditional practices often based on?

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What was assumed after the Independence of Asia and Africa?

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What does the importation of cheap goods often contribute to?

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What do collections act as?

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ielts reading test - the department of ethnography - Quiz

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