Behind the Zoo

510 Words2 Pages
What makes an object worth collecting? Curiosity is an important aspect of collecting. With the spread of colonies, there was an affinity to discover the unknown, or rather, the different. The nineteenth century paved the way for many sponsored expedition, looking for curios. Found object; vases, pots and pans, tools of everyday use, gained an importance, as curios. Nature has captivated the human cognizance since man first acquired tools, it would only be natural for the curiosity to extend to the subject of new flora and fauna. By means of collecting it is possible to establish a personal identity or characterize the other and often identifying this other as a conquest.
This idea of conquest can be analyzed in the manner in which collection is presented, making presenting as important an aspect as the collection itself.
The oldest zoological collection was a transportable one which contained every known species, however only two of each animal, one male and one female, collected by Noah as recounted in Genesis. Not does Noah get credit for conceptualizing the zoo, but as highlighted by John Elsner and Roger Cardinal’s introduction in The Cultures of Collecting, he was also the first collector. Granted it was under the request of a higher power, but in some way every collection emphasizes a purpose or some secret desire. While we can choose to believe this to be true or not, the lesson to be taken here is that collections can be thrust on its collector. Two of the
Get Access