Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wunderkammer

Right now I am reading the book "Cabinet of Curiosities" by Douglas Preston and Lee Child. In it they tell the interesting history of cabinets of curiosity also called wunderkammer. Starting in the 16th century, these rooms of wonder were collections to impress and amuse visitors. They usually had objects from natural history though many were faked. Kings and wealthy eccentrics would have a special room with their collections to awe the visitor. They would keep deformed fetuses in jars, collect prehistoric specimens, taxidermy collections of unusual animals, minerals and rocks, objects from around the world, and unusual paintings. Later, these collections came to be our present day Museums of Natural History. (no wonder I love Natural History Museums!) You can have a Cabinet of Curiosity in your own home. I started one in my basement guest room but it has since been abandoned. I had Korean wedding pictures, some ceramics, and maps from all over the world. It wasn't the most interesting collection. My brother has a more interesting collection. He has an ebony African bust that may be fake, and a huge piece of coral. He has post cards from New York that are over 60 years old and a drawing of a skyscraper he did himself. All of this is in his livingroom and I hope he expands his collection. This website tells you how to make your own. I am interested in knitting cell patterns and prehistoric plant patterns. I wish I could draw animal pictures. There is a class at the Natural Museum in New York that teaches you how to draw animals. I will keep you up to date with our collection of wonder as it grows larger. Right now I am focused on my own little wonder, my new son Eli.

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