Colonial Objects in Early Modern Sweden and Beyond
Colonial Objects in Early Modern Sweden and Beyond
From the Kunstkammer to the Current Museum Crisis
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Introduction: The King’s Tomahawk?

Part I Colonial Objects in Space: Baroque Practices of Collecting and Display
1. The Spaces of Colonial Objects : The Colonial World and the Kunstkammer
2. Global Interests: Colonial Policy and Collecting in the Reign of Queen Christina
3. Performing Difference: Court Culture and Collecting in the Time of Hedwig Eleonora
4. Object Lessons: Materiality and Knowledge in the Kunstkammer of Johannes Schefferus

Part II Colonial Objects in Time: Object Itineraries
5. Objects and their Agency and Itineraries
6. From North America to Nordamerika: A Tomahawk
7. From Northern Sapmi to Nordiska Museet: A Goavddis

Part III The Fate of Colonial Objects: Pasts, Presents, and Futures
8. Learning from the Kunstkammer? Colonial Objects and Decolonial Options

About the Author

Reviews and Features

"Snickare’s arguments are not only timely but also model an historically grounded, balanced and judicious approach to issues that trouble many institutions around the world currently trying to address the complex legacies of colonialism."
- Ruth Phillips, Carleton University

Mårten Snickare

Colonial Objects in Early Modern Sweden and Beyond

From the Kunstkammer to the Current Museum Crisis

An elaborately crafted and decorated tomahawk from somewhere along the North American east coast: how did it end up in the royal collections in Stockholm in the late seventeenth century? What does it say about the Swedish kingdom’s colonial ambitions and desires? What questions does it raise from its present place in a display cabinet in the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm?
Colonial Objects in Early Modern Sweden and Beyond is about the tomahawk and other objects like it, acquired in colonial contact zones and displayed by Swedish elites in the seventeenth century. Its first part situates the objects in two distinct but related spaces: the expanding space of the colonial world, and the exclusive space of the Kunstkammer. The second part traces the objects’ physical and epistemological transfer from the Kunstkammer to the modern museum system. In the final part, colonial objects are considered at the centre of a heated debate over the present state of museums, and their possible futures.

Mårten Snickare

Mårten Snickare is Professor of Art History at Stockholm University and Director of Accelerator, an exhibition space at the university where art and science meet. He has published extensively on Swedish and European Baroque art and architecture.