This article charts the collection history of the only surviving precolumbian cotton reliquary (cemí) from the Dominican Republic, establishing its provenance from the mid-nineteenth century through a previously unpublished manuscript written by the collector, Rodolfo Domingo Cambiaso Sosa, and using archival documents in Italy. The cemí, found in a cave in the southwest of the country near the town of Petitrou (Enriquillo), was purchased in 1882 by Admiral Giuseppe Giovanni Battista Cambiaso, one of the founders of the Dominican Navy. It emerged in international publications commemorating the quadricentennial of the Spanish–Indigenous encounter in 1892 and shortly thereafter was sent to Genoa, Italy. It entered the collections of Turin’s Royal Museum of Antiquities in 1928 before being passed to the newly established Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography. It was rediscovered by Dominican scholars in the 1970s and has inspired numerous investigations since, including renewed collaborative links between the Dominican Republic and Italy.

Collecting “Remembrances of these Isles”: Tracing the Post-1880 History of a Taíno Cotton Cemí in the Dominican Republic and Italy

Cecilia Pennacini
2023-01-01

Abstract

This article charts the collection history of the only surviving precolumbian cotton reliquary (cemí) from the Dominican Republic, establishing its provenance from the mid-nineteenth century through a previously unpublished manuscript written by the collector, Rodolfo Domingo Cambiaso Sosa, and using archival documents in Italy. The cemí, found in a cave in the southwest of the country near the town of Petitrou (Enriquillo), was purchased in 1882 by Admiral Giuseppe Giovanni Battista Cambiaso, one of the founders of the Dominican Navy. It emerged in international publications commemorating the quadricentennial of the Spanish–Indigenous encounter in 1892 and shortly thereafter was sent to Genoa, Italy. It entered the collections of Turin’s Royal Museum of Antiquities in 1928 before being passed to the newly established Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography. It was rediscovered by Dominican scholars in the 1970s and has inspired numerous investigations since, including renewed collaborative links between the Dominican Republic and Italy.
2023
34
2
1
17
cotton cemí; artifact biography; Caribbean prehistory/history; museums and cultural patrimony
Joanna Ostapkowicz; Cecilia Pennacini
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1923770
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