Thursday, August 21, 2008

Day 2: Hotel des Invalides and the Quai Branly Museum

Hello from Paris!

Our focus today was the amazing new Musee de Quai Branly. The Branly, as it is known locally, houses an incredible collection of art and antiquities from Asia, Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. We concentrated on the extensive Africa collection, which contains artefacts from as far back as 900 A.D. It also has paintings and sculptures from the late 18th and 19th centuries.

The students noted the incredible detail on all the objects in the collection, especially the masks and wooden sculptures. Many of the antiquities reflect the theological history of North Africa. The remnants of pre-Christian worship of nature and animals, the introduction of Christianity, and the replacement of Christianity by Islam are all evident in the collection. This visit provides an excellent backdrop for our emersion into the history of France next week in Louvre and Versailles.

Tomorrow we begin our service learning work in a homeless shelter near the Champs Elysee and then we depart for Tours in the Loire Valley.

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