First Take: The Paradox of Carnival


 To walk into the “Encounters with the Americas” gallery of the Peabody Museum at Harvard is to experience a paradox of time. The floors of the oldest anthropological museum in the United States creak under your feet and there’s a sense that ancient dust hovers in every corner. The towering gray casts of 5th-century A.D. Maya stelae and the 19th-century style glass cases with their ancient and ethnographic objects combine with these sensations to signal to the visitor a very old part of the New World. This impression of a static...

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