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Preview image of work. bronze with silk (rope tassels),  Zanzibar #3 12985


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Zanzibar #3

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Barbara Dewayne Chase-Riboud (b. 1939 - )


Zanzibar #3

Creation Date

ca. 1972


20th century


12 1/2 in. x 13 1/2 in. x 13 1/2 in. (31.75 cm x 34.29 cm x 34.29 cm)



Creation Place

North America, United States

Medium and Support

bronze with silk (rope tassels)

Credit Line

Bequest of William H. Alexander


This artwork may be under copyright. For further information, please consult the Museum’s Copyright Terms and Conditions.

Accession Number


A visual artist, poet, novelist, and sculptor, Barbara Chase-Riboud’s body of work has been described by curator Hans Ulrich Obrist as a “protest against forgetting.” Zanzibar #3 is no exception. For more than five decades, Chase-Riboud has created monumental abstract forms with a deep and nuanced understanding of history, identity, and sense of place. Evocative of an elaborate headdress, Zanzibar #3 is one of at least six known works in a series named after the East African island in the Indian Ocean that was a hub for the Arab slave trade, which thrived from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century. Her Zanzibar series was inspired by her poem “Why Did We Leave Zanzibar?” (1969–1970), which meditates on the consequences of the slave trade and enslaved people’s history of resistance. One verse reads: Why did we leave Zanzibar? Sweet fragrant mango-stenched beach, Breasts pressed flat against steamed sand, Seeping through sieve-like flesh, Carrying carats of ancestor dust, Rattling like pearls in oyster shells.

Object Description

From: Joachim Homann
Date: Friday, September 22, 2017 at 4:05 PM
To: "Laura J. Latman (work)"
Cc: Frank Goodyear , Anne Goodyear , Heidi Peterson
Subject: Notes from galley's inspection of Barbara Cahe-Riboud sculpture

Dear Laura,

Please note halley harrisburg’s comments in EmbArk. Halley is representing the artist and is extremely pleased that we have this rare and compelling work in our collection. According to halley
• the fiber (silk) is in good shape, needs to be untangled for exhibition
• The artist drapes the “skirts” differently for each showing. In this case, the “knot” probably marks the front of the sculpture and needs to be visible.
• The “skirt” should flow freely. Halley recommends a low platform that elevates the legs to the appropriate height.
• The work relates to extremely rare jewelry from the same period that was, like the sculpture, unique and cast in lost wax method.
• The work should be installed without a bonnet whenever possible.
• The surface shows residue from commercially available cleaning supply and needs to be treated. Halley offers to take care of conservation if we ship the work to New York City.
• Attached are documents that were forwarded to us by Michael Rosenfeld Gallery for our files. See the letter below.

Dear Mr. Homann,

We are very excited to learn that Barbara Chase-Riboud’s sculpture, Zanzibar #3, is in Bowdoin’s collection. For your reference, I have enclosed two seminal exhibition catalogues that illustrate the sculpture: the University Art Museum, Berkeley solo exhibition in 1973 (illustrated in black-and-white, titled Zanzibar Number Three, and listed on the checklist as no. 7, titled Zanzibar III; and the Musée d’art modern de la ville de Paris solo exhibition in 1974 (illustrated in black-and-white, titled Zanzibar Table).

I have also included a fact sheet written for another Zanzibar “table” sculpture that we had at the gallery but have now sold. I hope that it will be helpful as you work on the one in your collection (specific information on the Zanzibar series begins on page 3). Of course, we will update our fact sheets to note that Zanzibar #3 is now in Bowdoin’s collection.

Please let me know if there is anything I can provide.

Best wishes,


Valentina A. Spalten
Senior Associate
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC
100 Eleventh Avenue @ 19th
New York, NY 10011
(212) 247-0082
(212) 247-0402 fax

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