Tjurungas in the Ethnographic Collection of the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

Funding area:
Colonial contexts
Funding recipient:
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen. Ethnologische Sammlung
Federal state:
Lower Saxony
Contact person:
Dr. Michael Kraus

Tel.0551 39 27894

Josefine Wartenberg MA

Tel.0551 39 27898

Type of project:
short-term project

The Ethnographic Collection of the Georg-August Universität is one of the most important teaching and research collections in the German-speaking world. Its beginnings date back to the university’s Academic Museum, founded in 1773. Since 1928, Ethnology (or “Social and Cultural Anthropology”, initially “Völkerkunde”) has been taught as an independent discipline in Göttingen. A full professorship has existed since 1934.

The Ethnographic Collection includes 16 tjurungas of Australian Aborigines. These came to Göttingen between 1928 and 1967 via various collectors and previous owners. Seven objects were acquired by Emile Louis Bruno Clement in 1928. Six objects came into the collection in 1939 as a donation from the Berlin Museum für Völkerkunde. The names Bogner (1 object), Liebler (1 object) and Wettengel (4 objects) are noted as collectors. One tjurunga was part of an extensive collection from Australia purchased from Helmut Petri in 1967. For two other objects, no further documentation is available internally, but in one case “Aranda, W. Schmidt” is noted on the object itself.

The aim of the project is to analyse existing archival records in Göttingen and Berlin (Ethnologisches Museum) as well as scientific literature in order to be able to classify the existing tjurungas more precisely through collector biographies and object routes. Contact has been established with representatives of the societies of origin. The information researched in the project should enable an “informed dialogue” with representatives of the societies of origin.

(c) Ethnographic Collection of the Georg-August-Universität