Wunderkammer is “cabinet of curiosities”, a collection of items which at the time were not yet categorized. It is also called Kunstkammer, cabinet of curiosities, cabinet of wonder, or wonder-room. Most are said to include paintings or sculptures, animal tusks or feathers, and exotic trade items. People would sit in their Wunderkammer and contemplate, and according to Mnemosyne (website) this was the closest modern day extension of the thought experiments first put forth by people such as Aristotle. It led (unusually I would think) to many scientific breakthroughs, a commonly cited example being that of the realization that a particular horn belonged to a Narwhal instead of a unicorn, which was the common belief at the time. Many people had this horn, thinking it was of a unicorn and therefore what rarity it must be, yet it was discovered in the Wunderkammer of Ole Worm/Olaus Wormius that it was a narwhal.




~ by diamondace on February 1, 2010.

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