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YPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd”> By Mike Stoll Special to The PREVIEW The 25th edition of the Auction for the Animals is right around the corner. This year’s Silver Anniversary Gala celebration takes place Friday, Aug. 23, at the Ross Aragon Community Center. The annual auction is the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs’ major fundraiser of the year and always features a wide array of incredible items to bid on in both the silent and live auction portions of the evening. This year is absolutely no exception. Is a picture worth a thousand words? Try out this year’s new online auction preview feature and decide for yourself. Go to www.humanesociety.biz and click on Benefit Bidding in the auction promo section of the main web page to view photos and descriptions of all the items in both the silent and live auctions. It’s a wonderful way to identify ahead of time awesome auction items for yourself and great gifts for family and friends. Don’t want to wait for the auction to start your bidding? You can bid on items online until 5 p.m. the day before the auction. The hi...

In Senegal, Female Empowerment, Prestige and Wealth Is Measured in Glittering Gold | At the Smithsonian

In Dakar, Senegal, a woman goes into a dark, small room called an m’bar, a goldsmith studio. The walls are covered with black dust, and she is there to commission an intricate piece of gold jewelry that will be part of her family’s wealth, as well as a symbol of her status, political power and prestige. She’s accompanied by a griot, who will sing songs praising the client’s family connections and her beauty to inspire the teugue, the goldsmith, to create an especially exquisite piece of jewelry. “Very often there was just one little bulb hanging in that room, and you would wonder how in the world they could do the very fine, delicate work that they did,” explains art historian Marian Ashby Johnson. “There was a small hole in what was sometimes a mostly dirt floor. That was where they had their furnace, where they melted the gold and made it into beautiful things.” Those things included complicated gold necklaces of flowers or butterflies, with almost impossibly tiny filigreed wires twisted into soaring tubular shapes, or twined into bracelets that seem almost too heavy to wear. There are rings with stylized domes that look as if they belong in a castle, and chokers that look lik...