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"The Scholar's Choice" exhibition at Völkerkundemuseum

Jul 17, 2019

Within the context of the official opening of the Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS), the vernissage to "The Scholar’s Choice" took place at the Völkerkundemuseum Heidelberg on June 25. The exhibition shows favorite objects of 17 scholars from Heidelberg who are particularly close to CATS. The objects, which are mostly from Asia, are exhibited until November 27.

Collected 100 years ago by Victor Goldschmidt, numerous objects from Asia are on display at the Völkerkundemuseum Heidelberg. He thus laid the foundations for numerous disciplines at Ruperto Carola such as sinology and ethnology. The Völkerkundemuseum and CATS scholars now conceived a new exhibition. Researchers from Asian and transcultural studies selected a favourite object from the museum's collection.

The result is a colourful mixture - cult objects, masks, statues, instruments, images - that reflects all spheres of life: love, ritual performance, religion, food, education, war, death. The exhibition illustrates the different approaches to the scientific indexing of objects, which illustrate a rich arc of tension between different ways of reading, and demonstrates how the view of the objects can change as a result of newly gained knowledge.

A volume accompanying the exhibition was edited by Prof. Axel Michaels, one of the founding directors of CATS, and Margarete Pavaloi, the director of the Völkerkundemusem, and published by Heidelberg University Publishing (HeiUp). 

The scholars who chose the pieces for the exhibtion will also introduce these in the Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung (RNZ) in a new segment called "Lieblingsstücke" during the upcoming weeks. You can already read the article by Prof. Christiane Brosius, the HCTS professor of Visual and Media Anthropology about two depictions of lovers in India, as well as an article by Prof. Axel Michaels about the economic and ritual significance of rice in India and Nepal. The latest article written by Prof. Barbara Mittler examines a Chinese lute, the pipa. In the weeks to follow, HCTS members Profs. Nicolas Jaspert, Monica Juneja and Michael Radich will introduce their favorite objects in this segment.


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