Exploration : Columbia


 Columbia, Anonymous, 17th c., Ivory, Germany

        The ivory statue of Columbia, made in Germany, shows a Native American woman depicted from a 17th century European viewpoint. The statue is an allegorical representation and personification of America, and may actually be one statue in a series of four, which would also include the personifications of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Together, they would be representations of the “Four Continents”, a theme that gained popularity in art as trade expanded and globalization increased in Europe during the Baroque period.  This expansion and exploration is highlighted in the choice of material, using the ivory that was made available from the growth of European trade with Asia and Africa. The statue of Columbia, in both her subject matter and her material signify the transfer of information and the global exploration of the period, as well as a fascination with the New World.