the cabinet of curiosities
"A cabinet of curiosities was an encyclopedic collection in Renaissance Europe of types of objects whose categorical boundaries were yet to be defined.
They were also known by various names such as Cabinet of Wonder, and in German Kunstkammer or Wunderkammer (wonder-room). Modern terminology would categorize the objects included as belonging to natural history (sometimes faked), geology, ethnography, archaeology, religious or historical relics, works of art (including cabinet paintings) and antiquities. "The Kunstkammer was regarded as a microcosm or theater of the world, and a memory theater. The Kunstkammer conveyed symbolically the patron's control of the world through its indoor, microscopic reproduction."
Of Charles I of England's collection, Peter Thomas has succinctly stated, "The Kunstkabinett itself was a form of propaganda". Besides the most famous and best documented cabinets of rulers and aristocrats, members of the merchant class and early practitioners of science in Europe also formed collections that were precursors to museums."
there are too many words in this short little description that let the bells of my phantasmatic desires ring:
ethnography, archeology, relics, antiquities, precursors to museums, encyclopedic collections, yet to be defined boundaries, natural history (sometimes faked!)... -oh these wonders of the world in these delirious, weird collections. i get excited just by looking at these banal little pictures and imagining the thrill of stumbling upon someone's cabinet of curiosities by accident, where all the mysterious little objects of desire of that one person lie jumbled together in seemingly random, yet somehow universally sensible order of beautiful, insane and insatiable longing.