The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents "Materials of Empire: Colonial Narratives 1700-1860" opening day

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"Materials of Empire: Colonial Narratives 1700-1860"
Portuguese, Earrings from a Parure, c. 1780–1820, emeralds, diamonds, and yellow gold with silver overlay, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Rienzi Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harris Masterson III. Photo courtesy of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

"Materials of Empire: Colonial Narratives 1700-1860" explores objects from the Rienzi Collection that shed light on the links between Europe, Africa, the Americas, and India. The exhibition examines the stories that objects reveal as well as conceal, and places them within the context of entangled legacies and experiences of empire.

Exploration, war, scientific expeditions, and religious missions feature prominently in the history of Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries. These factors fueled an age of discovery in which thousands of ships transported explorers, merchants, and migrants from Europe to far-reaching destinations.

Vessels bound back to Europe carried cargo such as gold, silver, sugar, and tobacco. The ships also transported millions of enslaved men, women, and children from Africa to points across the empires to serve as labor in the cultivation of the new materials. Every crossing brought new encounters and confrontations between people and ways of life, resulting in a complex cultural landscape.

The exhibition will remain on display through July 31.

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Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
1001 Bissonnet St.
Houston, TX 77005


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