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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cabinet of Curiosities

I really would love this book

Albert Seba's Cabinet of Natural Curiosities, being a zoologist and all. I would love to flick through the book, and I even saw somewhere that an interior designer cut out the pages and framed them for her son's room. How cool!
Albertus Seba (1665-1736) was born in 1665 in the East Frisian town of Etzel, chose a profession (apothecary), with close ties to natural history. In Amsterdam he was proud indeed of his collection of natural specimens, the work of many decades. Having emphasized its uniqueness in a letter to a potential buyer, composed in c. 1725, he expanded further on its scope, writing that it included all sorts of exquisite pieces from the East and West Indies, among these no less than 700 jars containing the rarest exotic animals and many particularly rare snakes.

Cabinet of Curiosities is a term which in the past described a room rather than a piece of furniture. The first of the cabinets of curiosities were assembled in the mid-sixteenth century. These rooms had encyclopedic collections of types of objects whose categorical boundaries were, in Renaissance Europe, yet to be defined. These objects included to natural history (sometimes faked), geology, ethnography, archaeology, religious or historical relics, works of art (including cabinet paintings) and antiquities.

Example of a cabinet of Curiosities from Wikipedia

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