Monday, April 16, 2007


Engravings of shells from The Ambonese Curiosity Cabinet

The admiration of shells was elaborated on during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries when, the beautiful object became an exotic treasure to be placed in the fashionable ‘cabinet of curios.’ These cabinets of curiosities had pride of place in every aristocratic home from Holland to France and housed everything from coins and antiquities to exotic corals, plants and shells, This blending of art, artifice and natural objects encouraged a focus on ‘wonder’ rather than any systematic or scientific interest. Only as recently as the second half of the seventeenth century was the curiosity and desire for shells married with scientific study.

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