South Sea
Polynesian and Micronesian Collection and the Gallery of Contemporary Art

01.10.2001 to 10.01.2016
Ethnologisches Museum

The collections of artefacts from Polynesia are among the oldest at the Ethnological Museum. The first objects to be brought to Berlin were incorporated into the 'Kunstkammer' or 'cabinet of art' in Berlin's South Sea collection in 1802. Among them are objects from the voyages of James Cook. As the land of 'little islands', Micronesia's fame rested on its seafarers, who became the subject of voyagers' accounts, one of the earliest of which in German being by Adelbert von Chamisso, the German botanist.

Works of contemporary art, including paintings, wood carvings, drawings, rattan objects and clay sculptures speak of the islanders' struggle to claim their identity and of the search for a connection with their own past.

Related content

Traditionelles fidschianisches Doppelrumpf-Segelboot im Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich, aktuell zu sehen im National Maritime Museum in London
© National Maritime Museum, London
Humboldt Forum

Double-Hulled Sailing Boat from the South Pacific for the Junior Areas of the Ethnologisches Museum at the Humboldt Forum

Südsee-Häuser im Ethnologischen Museum
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Ethnologisches Museum / Claudia Obrocki
Humboldt Forum

The South Sea houses are moving house: more large objects leave the Ethnologisches Museum for the Humboldt Forum

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