Journal Article

‘Indian’ objects in Medici and Austrian-Habsburg inventories

Jessica Keating and Lia Markey

in Journal of the History of Collections

Volume 23, issue 2, pages 283-300
Published in print November 2011 | ISSN: 0954-6650
Published online December 2010 | e-ISSN: 1477-8564 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhc/fhq030
‘Indian’ objects in Medici and Austrian-Habsburg inventories

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This article broadly addresses how German and Italian collectors communicated and regulated foreignness. More narrowly, it discusses textual signifiers of foreignness, specifically the terms Indiana, alla Indiana, dell’Indie, Indien and Indianische in German and Italian inventories drawn up between 1580 and 1750. A study of the inventories of the gifts and palaces of Medici Grand Dukes and Holy Roman Emperors confirms the long-held view that the term ‘Indian’ connoted objects not only from the Americas and India, but also from Africa, China, Japan, and the Levant. Through an analysis of the term ‘Indian’ and two case-studies tracking Indian objects, we reveal the complexity of this term and the necessity of carefully considering the language and context of inventories.

Journal Article.  12917 words.  Illustrated.

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

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