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4.6 out of 5 stars25
Format: Hardcover|Change
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on April 22, 2013
It is hard to know where to start with this book - it is filled with every mystery and treasure you can imagine. This book describes Cabinets of Wonder, and this book is a wonder itself. You can truly be transported whether reading about historical or modern wunderkammers, or just flipping through the pages to admire the magical collections within.

This book begins by examining the historic origins of the collections that comprise a wonder cabinet as we know it today. As documented, the collections are dictated by the collecting whims of the assembler and may contain anything the collector found fascinating, curious, exotic or desirable. A collection may include natural objects, artwork, souvenirs, scientific instruments, ornaments, specimens, memento mori, musical instruments, medical oddities - any object that inspires curiosity.

This book documents historical collectors and their collections, and some of their motivations for assembling objects into a collection. They are motivated by a desire to understand the world around them, but also by fame, social status and obsession. These people are royalty, scholars, artists, scientists and eccentrics. Their collections and the labor it took to construct them make for fascinating reading. The book also explains how the curiosity cabinets evolved into museums as we know them today .

This book also does a thorough job of reporting on modern day wonder cabinets and their place in contemporary art. I have purchased a few books about wonder cabinets recently hoping that they would include modern examples, but this is the only book to do so, and I was delighted by what was included.

Although I enjoyed the text of this book tremendously, it is the wonderful photography and illustrations that that makes this book so satisfying. On every page you are treated to compositions of visually inspiring objects. There are skulls, bones, marble statues, taxidermy, artwork, furniture, reliquaries, globes, hides, eggs, shells, insects, diagrams, specimens, artifacts, monsters, treasures, composite creatures, grottoes, and monsters - every marvel you could hope to see in a curiosity cabinet. You can spend many hours getting lost in this fascinating book.
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on July 4, 2013
The book is actually bigger than i thought it would be! It came with A4 size and hard-binded red cover, very beautifully printed. At first, I was thinking about check it out and return it if i don’t like but i instead added it to my collection! Apart from photos of oddities, it also explains history of this tradition and types of objects collected. Highly recommended!
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on October 30, 2013
This is a very high quality book that looks amazing. I bought it as inspiration for a work project, and when it's sitting on my desk everyone wants to flip through it. It's filled with tons of weird, curious images, the book cover itself looks very premium, and the overall design is top notch.
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on March 19, 2013
if you like skulls and displays of nature, you'll like this. it's like visiting a museum or some quirky friend's giant collection of natural curiosities and oddities.
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on January 20, 2013
A wonderfully designed book full of gorgeous photos of curiosity cabinets and art inspired by them. As a modern-day collector, it inspired me quite a bit and I can see myself going back to it as an important reference.
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on March 12, 2013
Very unique and interesting book. I'm enjoying it a lot. Great for your coffee table or as a gift for someone who appreciates oddities.
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on January 16, 2014
This is a beautiful book. The collections are fantastic and the quality is heirloom worthy. My daughter loved it and is the first book in her own 'Cabinet of Wonder'.
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on March 26, 2013
I love this book I love the macabre so this book fits perfectly in my collection. Every time I look through the book I see something I didn't notice before!
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on February 4, 2014
If you're looking for a coffee table book with more pictures than words - this isn't the book for you. This book is surprisingly detailed. But if you're a fan of the macabre and the eccentric - this is a great book to add to your collection!
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on October 3, 2012
I did not rate it a 5 because it is an indepth study of real 'cabinets of wonder' and their place in history. I was looking for modern application in design. The cover is beautiful and embossed without a book jacket. The pictures are great but sometime macabre and definitely have either a scientific or artistic slant, not decorative. The author knows the subject well. Collectors of rare artifacts and specimens will love this book
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