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The age of Portuguese discoveries, exotic worlds and their impact on the Habsburg Kunstkammer

In March 2000, to coincide with Portugals presidency of the European Union, the Kunsthistorisches Museum opened the special exhibition "Exotica.

With the help of over 200 objects from the Kunsthistorisches Museums Collection of Sculpture and Decorative Arts, Ambras Castle and the Museum für Völkerkunde the exhibition brings to life the age of Portuguese discoveries.

The exhibition is now shown in Ambras Castle in Innsbruck.The Kunstkammer collection of the Habsburgs includes such diverse objects as ivory sculptures, gold and silverwork, objects made of jade, mother-of-pearl, shell, rhinoceros horn, or Seychelles nuts, coconuts or ostrich eggs in precious settings, and oriental bezoars, sent to Europe as gifts or acquired by merchant houses from countries such as Africa, India, Japan, China or Persia.

It is almost the only collection of treasures and wonders in which this period is reflected so strongly in natural wonders and artefacts at such an early date, namely at the end of the 16th century.


27 June 2000
to 31 October 2000

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