Journal Article

Ethnographica in early modern <i>Kunstkammern</i> and their perception

Elke Bujok

in Journal of the History of Collections

Volume 21, issue 1, pages 17-32
Published in print May 2009 | ISSN: 0954-6650
Published online March 2009 | e-ISSN: 1477-8564 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhc/fhn031
Ethnographica in early modern Kunstkammern and their perception

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Ethnographic objects from all areas of the world formed an essential part of both royal and private Kunstkammern. In Munich, they made up one-seventh of the total number of objects. They were regarded with wonderment and curiosity in the same way as the European objects and were placed among them without distinction. Around 1670, this attitude gave way to more scientific approaches and classification systems: the ethnographica were increasingly separated, and no longer found a proper place in the new ordering systems. Unlike most of the royal cabinets, private collections tended to reflect a spirit of enquiry from the beginning. The inventories of the Kunstkammern represent an important source of information about the historical culture of many ethnic groups, and tell us which objects were brought to Europe, but there is little source material to show how these objects found their way into these collections.

Journal Article.  9661 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Exhibition Catalogues and Specific Collections ; History of Art ; Social and Cultural History

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