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The Nevada Historical Society presents an exhibition of tree carvings left by Basque sheepherders in the West

02/09/2012

An example of a carving left by a herder and a copy made by the Earls (photo UNR)
An example of a carving left by a herder and a copy made by the Earls (photo UNR)

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The Nevada Historical Society’s exhibit, “Basque Aspen Tree Art,” that includes tree carvings made by Basque sheepherders will run until April 7, 2012. The exhibit is based on carvings and rubbings done by Phillip and Jean Earl authors of Basque Aspen Art of the Sierra Nevada. The exhibit will also include talks by faculty members of the Center for Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Reno, NV.  The Nevada Historical Society will exhibit a sample of aspen tree carvings left by Basque sheepherders in the mountains where they spent many lonely months watching over their herds.  The carvings were gathered by the couple Phillip and Jean Earl, who have explored the Sierra Nevada since 1969 and have assembled a collection of more than 130 copies (rubbings in wax) of the carvings.  Mr. & Mrs. Earl published a book on the subject entitled, Basque Aspen Art of the Sierra Nevada.

The exhibit at the Nevada Historical Society includes drawings of cowboys, women, animals, dates, names…reflecting the things that these men missed, or were interested in.  The carvings were done between the 1800s and the 1960s, and currently many are in danger of disappearing, since the trees where they were carved are now dying, or have been affected by pests and infection.  The work done by the Earls, rubbings on wax of many of these carvings, is vital to the preservation of this Basque cultural legacy in the US.

To complement the exhibition, the Nevada Historical Society has scheduled a series of lectures on the subject, given by faculty at the Center for Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno.

For more information: http://www.newsreview.com/reno/basque-aspen-tree-art-exhibition/local/Calendar?oid=4880719

A complete multimedia presentation on Basque tree carvings in Nevada on UNR’s website: http://knowledgecenter.unr.edu/sheepherders/siteindex.html

 



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