In the early modern age more people traveled farther than at any earlier time in human history. Many returned home with stories of distant lands and at least some of the objects they collected during their journeys. And those who did not travel eagerly acquired wondrous materials that arrived from faraway places. Objects traveled various routes-personal, imperial, missionary, or trade-and moved not only across space but also across cultures.
Histories of the early modern global culture of collecting have focused for the most part on European Wunderkammern, or "cabinets of curiosities." But the passion for acquiring unfamiliar items rippled across many lands. The court in Java marveled at, collected, and displayed myriad goods brought through its halls. African princes traded captured members of other African groups so they could get the newest kinds of cloth produced in Europe. Native Americans sought colored glass beads made in Europe, often trading them to other indigenous groups. Items changed hands and crossed cultural boundaries frequently, often gaining new and valuable meanings in the process. An object that might have seemed mundane in some cultures could become a target of veneration in another.
The fourteen essays in Collecting Across Cultures represent work by an international group of historians, art historians, and historians of science. Each author explores a specific aspect of the cross-cultural history of collecting and display from the dawn of the sixteenth century to the early decades of the nineteenth century. As the essays attest, an examination of early modern collecting in cross-cultural contexts sheds light on the creative and complicated ways in which objects in collections served to create knowledge-some factual, some fictional-about distant peoples in an increasingly transnational world.
Daniela Bleichmar is Associate Professor of Art History and History at the University of Southern California. Peter C. Mancall is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities and Professor of History and Anthropology at the University of Southern California and Director of the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute.
List of Illustrations Foreword -Malcolm Baker Introduction -Daniela Bleichmar and Peter C. Mancall I. COLLECTING AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF KNOWLEDGE IN THE EARLY MODERN WORLD Chapter 1. Seeing the World in a Room: Looking at Exotica in Early Modern Collections -Daniela Bleichmar Chapter 2. Collecting Global Icons: The Case of the Exotic Parasol -Benjamin Schmidt Chapter 3. Ancient Europe and Native Americans: A Comparative Reflection on the Roots of Antiquarianism -Alain Schnapp II. COLLECTING AND THE FORMATION OF GLOBAL NETWORKS Chapter 4. Aztec Regalia and the Reformation of Display -Carina L. Johnson Chapter 5. Dead Natures or Still Lifes? Science, Art, and Collecting in the Spanish Baroque -Jose Ramon Marcaida and Juan Pimentel Chapter 6. Crying a Muck: Collecting, Domesticity, and Anomie in Seventeenth-Century Banten and England -Robert Batchelor Chapter 7. Collecting and Translating Knowledge Across Cultures: Capuchin Missionary Images of Early Modern Central Africa, 1650-1750 -Cecile Fromont Chapter 8. European Wonders at the Court of Siam -Sarah Benson III. COLLECTING PEOPLE Chapter 9. Collecting and Accounting: Representing Slaves as Commodities in Jamaica, 1674-1784 -Trevor Burnard Chapter 10. ''Collecting Americans'': The Anglo-American Experience from Cabot to NAGPRA -Peter C. Mancall IV. EUROPEAN COLLECTIONS OF AMERICANA IN THE EIGHTEENTH AND NINETEENTH CENTURIES Chapter 11. Spanish Collections of Americana in the Late Eighteenth Century -Paz Cabello Carro Chapter 12. Martinez Companon and His Illustrated ''Museum'' -Lisa Trever and Joanne Pillsbury Chapter 13. Europe Rediscovers Latin America: Collecting Artifacts and Views in the First Decades of the Nineteenth Century -Pascal Riviale Chapter 14. Image and Experience in the Land of Nopal and Maguey: Collecting and Portraying Mexico in Two Nineteenth-Century French Albums -Megan E. O'Neil Notes List of Contributors Index Acknowledgments