Dutch Shoe & Leather Museum


New Exhibition: Skin as a means of communication

 Afrikaans masker met scarif

From 12 September 2015 to 16 May 2016 the Dutch Leather and Shoe Museum in Waalwijk will be showing the exhibition Skin as a Means of Communication. In this exhibition guest curator Geert de Bruijn explains how humans are able to communicate using their skin or prepared animal hide.

Tattoos, scarification and branding

Communication via living, human skin is achieved using images applied by tattoos, scarification, branding or body painting. The messages that are conveyed through the images applied to the skin may relate to the stage of life in which the owner finds him or herself, the social group to which the bearer belongs or for instance, aims to emphasise their virility, status and/or beauty, for instance.

Drums and shadow-theatre puppets

Part of the exhibition is also devoted to forms of communication through tanned or cured hide and skin (parchment). The exhibits collected by De Bruijn showing means of communication of this type include shields (for example from the Masai in Kenya and Tanzania), bibles, charters, musical instruments (drums) and shadow-theatre puppets (Indonesian wayang puppets). Items have been borrowed from the Allard Pierson Museum, the Noordbrabants Museum, the Wereldmuseum and various private collections.