Most of us collect things. We may keep small things in a shoe box, such as shells, arrowheads, Matchbox Toys, or buttons. We may collect for our larger spaces and have a house full of furniture, ship models, Hopi jars or whatever catches our fancy. Our garages may be filled with classic cars, our barns with early tractors.
These collections and/or the things that contain them may be called Kunstkammers. This German word means arts chamber or cabinet. The original Kunstkammers were formed to display
(1. Naturalia) oddities from nature--human freaks (preserved), weirdly shaped deer antlers, exotic shells, coconuts or unusual types of wood.
(2. Artificialia) Items acted upon by man--A chambered nautilus, gold encrusted and bejeweled; coconut half bowl covered with intricate gold work displayed on a stand of ebony; carved ivory tusks.
These rarities were kept in cabinets until the collections grew large enough for rooms, then whole buildings.
In the 15th century, Germanic rulers developed this collecting to the ultimate degree. Their accumulations became spoils of war. European museums today display some of these early items. If we are unable to travel to foreign lands, we are able to view many of these collections via the internet.
How fascinating it is to view their items from the perspective of their time!