Transcultural Wonders

Transcultural Wonders: Encounters with the Exotic in the Dutch Republic

Claudia Swan

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Image: Detail, Cornelis Visscher and Pieter Bast, Profile View of Amsterdam, 1611

 

This research project tracks the production, exchange, and consumption of exotic objects in the Netherlands and along Eurasian contact routes during the formative years of the Dutch Republic, from the founding of the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or VOC) in 1602 through the mid-seventeenth century. The exotic objects the Dutch imported, collected, presented, and represented in the early years of the Republic and responses to those objects (exoticism) figure in the developments in trade, international relations, science, and the arts through which the Dutch Republic made itself known. The research will culminate in a book, “Transcultural Wonders: Encounters with the Exotic in the Dutch Republic.” Written at the juncture of early modern art history, cultural and material history, the history of science, and maritime and diplomatic history, “Transcultural Wonders” excavates and analyzes a network of objects and people that and who traveled east and west in the first half of the seventeenth century, and assesses the role of the exotic in self-conceptions and international perceptions of the fledgling Dutch Republic.