Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Beyond Brazil: Tracking Johann Natterer through Space and Time

Now on view at the Museum für Völkerkunde in Vienna is Beyond Brazil: Tracking Johann Natterer through Space and Time, an exhibition which showcases the results of one of the first scientifically deliberate European expeditions to Brazil. Until the early nineteenth century, Brazil was something of a terra incognita for Europeans. In 1817, the Austrian crown dispatched a scientific team to the country to study and document human cultures, flora and fauna. Johann Natterer (1787–1843) joined the expedition as a zoologist, travelling the country a total of eighteen years. As he died young and most of his notes were destroyed in a fire at Hofburg Palace in 1848, his collection and scientific work was long overlooked.

Thanks to his efforts, Vienna's Museum für Völkerkunde today houses the world’s most important ethnographic collection on early nineteenth-century Brazil. Comprising over 2,400 objects, it is among the most important of its kind but is little known to the general public. Beyond Brazil presents the first comprehensive survey of these fascinating collections.

Visit the exhibition's official website.

Headdress  -  Makuna-ui, Guyana  -  ca. 1830
Headdress  -  Parintintin, Brazil  -  ca. 1830

Feathered cape  -  Mundurucu, Brazil  -  ca. 1830
Feather sceptres and sceptre case  -  Mundurucu, Brazil  -  ca. 1830
Watercolor depicting the installation of the Paressi and Caripuna collections in the "Kaiserhaus"  -  ca. 1840

Information and images courtesy of the Museum für Völkerkunde, Vienna

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