Accepted paper:

From confiscated artefacts to museum objects

Author:

Maria-Katharina Lang (Austrian Academy of Sciences)

Paper short abstract:

This contribution sheds light on artefact transfers from yurts, palaces and temples to state museums in Mongolia, mainly in course of confiscation processes during the political repressions and transformations in the 20th century. Here objects serve as a link to the past and to individual memories.

Paper long abstract:

This contribution sheds light on the artefact transfers from yurts, palaces and temples to state museums in Mongolia, mainly in the course of confiscation processes during the political repressions and societal transformations in the 20th century. Here objects and their biographies serve as a direct link to the past and to individual memories. Around 1900, ethnographica from Mongolia were increasingly musealised in Europe, whereas similar objects in Mongolia were hidden, confiscated or destroyed during the political repressions in the 1930s. As a research method, images of ethnographic collections from Mongolia in European museums were used to evoke object narrations on similar items that had survived the purges in Mongolia by being kept hidden or handed over to museums. In this way, new layers and histories were added to dislocated (and often desecrated) objects. Not only was the meaning of artefacts changed, sometimes their places of origin underwent a transformation themselves, such as from a temple to a museum. This alienation process is part of the artefact biographies, a part of history itself, which can be continued through memories and narrations. These relate the objects to their genealogical locations again and add new layers to them (which can be made visible in new museum exhibitions). Various individual object narrations, pieces of material evidence and modes of exhibiting will be part of the presentation.

panel P015
Breaking the Silence: Heritage Objects and Cultural Memory