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Collections Of Curiosities: 'A Book In Which God Has Gloriously Described Himself'

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on a group of scholars for whom the case can be argued that their collecting activities have to be considered in the light of the Book of Nature. There are many striking lateral connections between the contents of early modern collections of curiosities and the way in which the study of emblems, natural history, natural philosophy, exegesis and other activities were practiced. Prominent collectors in the Netherlands such as Witsen, Seba and Vincent owed the presence of naturalia from the East in large measure to Georg Everard Rumphius (1682-1702), the famous blind 'Pliny of Ambon'. This employee of the Dutch East Indian Company posthumously published Amboinsche rariteitkamer (Ambonese curiosity cabinet, 1705) contained not only a wealth of information about naturalia in the East Indies but also, almost in passing, a sketch of the culture of collecting in the Netherlands.

Keywords: Ambonese curiosity cabinet; Book of Nature; Dutch; Netherlands



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