Provenance Research

“In the German-speaking world, more than twenty public ethnological and world culture museums [...] preserve a significant number of collections with cultural artifacts, photographs, film and sound documents as well as archives of manuscripts. We preserve these collections in a fiduciary capacity. Through the objects, relationships between people were established which were and still are important for those who once crafted them, for their descendants and for all societies in general. These relationships – similar to diaspora connections – are the focus of our attention.” (Excerpt from the Heidelberg Statement)
It is therefore a central concern of ours to research the origin of our objects.

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Depiction of a battle, painting

The Museum am Rothenbaum is a co-signatory of the Heidelberg Statement in which these goals were jointly set out at the 2019 annual conference of the directors of the ethnological museums in the German-speaking world. The complete content of the Heidelberg Statement can be found here.

The MARKK is endeavoring to proactively conduct provenance research on its collections within the framework of its ongoing academic research and is currently the recipient of a one-year grant from the German Centre for Lost Cultural Property for the project “Hamburg’s trade networks as procurers of collection items for the Hamburg Museum of Ethnology (1860-1920) and as agents for the distribution of colonial ethnographic objects”.
Furthermore, there are plans for successively putting the collection online in order to facilitate transparent access to the museum’s holdings. For this purpose an application has already been submitted to the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and is currently being examined.

Trade networks as basis of West African colonial ethnographic object’s distribution and procurers of collection goods for the Museum für Völkerkunde in Hamburg (1860-1920)

The research project is dedicated to the provenances of early collections of the Museum am Rothenbaum (MARKK), that…

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Incense burner, enamelled, 18th century

Loot from the “Boxer War”? Searching for Traces in the East-Asian Collection

The Museum am Rothenbaum posesses a considerable body of Chinese art and cultural assets that were acquired shortly…

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