Cimeter, crocodile and canopic yars: global stories in Brandenburg museums.

Steigbügelgefäß der Moche-Kultur, Peru, 400-550 n. Chr. (Museum Schloss Lübben, Foto Ronka Oberhammer / Lorenz Kienzle)

Stirrup vessel of the Moche culture, Peru, 400-550 AD (Museum Schloss Lübben, photo: Ronka Oberhammer/Lorenz Kienzle, CC BY-NC-SA)


The exhibition

Local history always also has global history inherent within it. Be it natural forces, innovations or ideologies that change the course of the world, their impacts are often felt even in the tiniest village. But the wish to explore, shape and master the world, which arises in the individual localities, connects the big picture with local events. While it was personal motives that drew people to faraway places, they were nonetheless often part of the global movements of their time.

European colonialism was one of these ideologies that changed the world. And it also persuaded people from Brandenburg to leave their homeland. The items were either brought back from around the world in the luggage of the travellers. Or, inspired by stories and images from afar, they were collected by the people at home. Quite often, these items found their way into museums.

Eight of these museums of Brandenburg joined forces to tell the story of their "global objects" in this exhibition. This is a new phenomenon, because these objects from colonial contexts largely remained unnoticed until now - either because their history is completely or partially unknown or because interpreting them raises difficulties.

The exhibition showcases objects and life stories whose exploration is still in its infancy. We very much encourage your cooperation in settling any such open questions.

Antiquity and Orient

Wilhelm Gentz, Market day in Cairo, German illustrated sheet for young and old, No. 65, From the Orient, 1868 (Museum Neuruppin, CC BY-NC-SA)

People in 19th century Europe were fascinated by the ancient sites in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The ancient world is seen as the root of the Western world, and its legacies the role model for and source of Western civilization. Starting in the Renaissance, the sons of the nobility had often gone on educational journeys through Mediterranean countries and to the Holy Land. In the 19th century the upper middle classes began to join them. But travelling to the Orient also meant visiting foreign lands, seeing the fascinating structures of ancient civilizations and the settings of the Bible.

For Europeans, the Orient was both a place of longing and a counterpoint. Increasingly, the Western view of the Orient took on colonial overtones. Europeans felt superior to the Arab world intellectually and culturally. They regarded themselves as bearers of a higher civilization. In Brandenburg, this is what the Liebenberg manor house and castle, the Fürst-Pückler museum in Branitz and the Museum Neuruppin showcase.

Karl von und zu Hertefeld - the Margraviate Battle of Alexan

In 1831 a large mosaic was discovered during excavations in Pompeii. It depicts a battle between the Macedonian Alexander the Great and the Persian High King Darius III. This sensational find forments an interest in the Orient. Frederick William IV, King of Prussia, had a completed replica made as a tile mosaic. Another copy was aquired by his confidant Karl Adolf Freiherr von und zu Hertefeld (1794-1867), lord of the Liebenberg manor, in 1843. The copy is used in the manor first as a floor and later as wall decoration.

The objects shown here are in the Schloss & Gut Liebenberg.

Tile from the copy of the Alexander battle mosaic (DKB STIFTUNG - Schloss & Gut Liebenberg, CC BY-NC-SA)

"Neither contemporary nor future commentators will be able to do justice to such wonders of art; and following our educational observations and investigations we will be compelled to return to simple and pure admiration."

Johann Wolfgang v. Goethe on the Alexander battle mosaic in his letter to the archaeologist Wilhelm Johann Karl Zahn, 6.3.1832

3a - Alexanderschlacht / Fliesenbild

Between Orient and Occident
The tile picture depicting the Battle of Alexander was first used as flooring and later as a mural in the manor house. With its impressive size of 5.46 m x 2.86 m, the battle scene includes many exciting details. Click on the frames or hover the mouse over them to learn more about Alexander the Great's victory.

The tile painting in the armoury of Liebenberg Castle, around 1900, photograph (DKB STIFTUNG - Schloss & Gut Liebenberg, CC BY-NC-SA)

Prestigious space in the armoury
Around 1900 the lord of the castle, count Philipp zu Eulenburg, installed the tile painting in the castle's armoury. There it served as a splendid eye-catcher at the numerous receptions hosted by the count. Emperor Wilhelm II was also a frequent guest at Liebenberg and is likely to have marvelled at and admired the "Battle of Alexander".

Preserved for the future In the 1950s, the tile picture was removed from the armoury and taken to the upper floor of Liebenberg castle, where it remained until 2002. It was then taken off, disassembled and put in storage. It was not until 16 years later that the tiles were all laid out again and made accessible to the public. At the same time, the department for the conservation and restoration of murals at Potsdam University of Applied Sciences began assessing and restoring the individual tiles.

Restoration assessment of the tile picture at the Department of Conservation and Restoration - Wall painting of the FH Potsdam


Clicking on the objects gives you more information at

Related Objects ...

Fliesenmosaik mit Schlachtszene aus dem Orient
(Schloss und Gut Liebenberg)

Das Kachel-Mosaik zeigt eine ergänzte Nachbildung des 1831 bei Ausgrabungen in Pompeji in der „Casa del Fauno“ (Haus des Fauns) gefundenen römischen Mosaiks, welches etwa 2300 Jahre ...

Waffensaal im Schloss Liebenberg
(Schloss und Gut Liebenberg)

Schlossherr Philipp Graf zu Eulenburg ließ das Fliesenbild mit der Alexanderschlacht um 1900 an der Wand des Waffensaales des Liebenberger Schlosses anbringen. Der Waffensaal war einer von ...

Prince Pückler – reports from the Orient

Hermann von Pückler-Muskau, Photography, ca. 1862 (Stiftung Fürst-Pückler-Museum Park und Schloss Branitz, CC BY-NC-SA)

In 1835, prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau (1785-1871) embarked on a journey to the Orient. For four years he travelled in the eastern Mediterranean, North Africa and along the Nile. His travel reports were veritable bestsellers and appeared in books and daily newspapers. His view of people in other parts of the world had a considerable influence on his contemporaries back home. The prince's reputation as an eccentric, womaniser and bon vivant also attracted attention. His self-promotions made him one of the most dazzling and famous people in Europe.

The objects for Fürst Pückler's life are in the Fürst-Pückler-Museum Park und Schloss Branitz.

Route of Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau (Departure from Muskau May 24, 1834, Return to Muskau September 8, 1840)

"When unpacking the Egyptian crates, I kindly ask you to be very careful, as there are many extremely fragile things among them, and it would be regrettable if they were to perish."

Hermann von Pückler-Muskau,
Letter to his wife Lucie from Cairo, September 26, 1837

Boxes filled with souvenirs
While away on his travels, Prince Pückler sent home boxes of art and cultural artefacts, everyday objects of ethnographic significance as well as live and stuffed animals. He used the souvenirs to decorate rooms in Muskau Castle and later of his retirement home Branitz castle near Cottbus in an Oriental style. The Oriental objects were status symbols that had been a common sight at European courts for some time.

Four canopic jars, Egypt, 1000-500 B.C. (Erbengemeinschaft nach Fürst Pückler in Branitz bei der Stiftung Fürst-Pückler-Museum Park und Schloss Branitz, Photo: Ronka Oberhammer / Lorenz Kienzle)

Sacrificial tablel, Fake (?), prob. 19th century (Erbengemeinschaft nach Fürst Pückler in Branitz bei der Stiftung Fürst-Pückler-Museum Park und Schloss Branitz, Photo: Ronka Oberhammer / Lorenz Kienzle, CC BY-NC-SA)

Although Pückler listed the objects he acquired in his letters, their cultural-historical significance and the circumstances of their acquisition remain to be fully clarified. As with the "sacrificial tablet" shown here, which is probably a fake. The "sacrificial tablet" shown here is probably a fake from the 19th century with its overloading symbolism and the surrounding text with phantasy hieroglyphs. It is still to be clarified whether the piece is actually a travel souvenir from Pückler.

Related Objects ...

Photography by Hermann von Pückler-Muskau
(Stiftung Fürst-Pückler-Museum Park und Schloss Branitz)

The photograph was probably taken around 1862 in a photo studio in Cottbus. It shows the almost 80-year-old prince in Oriental garb.

Four Canopic jars
(Stiftung Fürst-Pückler-Museum Park und Schloss Branitz)

Canopic jars, part of every Egyptian burial, are a set of four vessels containing the organs of a dead person. The lids symbolise the four sons of the god Horus who protect the various ...

Sacrificial tablel (Fake?)
(Stiftung Fürst-Pückler-Museum Park und Schloss Branitz)

Forgery of an offering tablet depicting a married couple arm in arm, a scarab, a crocodile with human body and made-up text around it, including some made-up hieroglyphics.

curved dagger scabbard
(Stiftung Fürst-Pückler-Museum Park und Schloss Branitz)

The slightly curved dagger scabbard features elaborate tendril decoration. The steeply angled tip has a small, six-faceted pommel. All weapons from the Prince Pückler collection were ...

Horse comb with Quran inscription on both sides
(Stiftung Fürst-Pückler-Museum Park und Schloss Branitz)

Horse comb with Quran inscriptions on both sides: "Indeed, we have given you a clear victory" (Quran, Surah 48, verse 1); "And victory is not but from Allah" (Quran, Surah 8, verse 10).

Architecture fragment with lotus bud
(Stiftung Fürst-Pückler-Museum Park und Schloss Branitz)

Egyptian architectural fragment with relief depicting a lotus bud.

Tabourett with mother of pearl inlays
(Stiftung Fürst-Pückler-Museum Park und Schloss Branitz)

Small Syro-Persian table with bone and mother-of-pearl alla certosina inlays, probably acquired by Prince Pückler in Bethlehem.

Ushebi figure with hieroglyphs
(Stiftung Fürst-Pückler-Museum Park und Schloss Branitz)

A statuette in the shape of a mummy. One of these figures was placed in the grave of the deceased for each year of life. Their job was to do work in the afterlife instead.

Pocket travel book with French-Arabic language exercises
(Stiftung Fürst-Pückler-Museum Park und Schloss Branitz)

Pocket travel book with French-Arabic language exercises. During his journey through Tunisia and Algeria, Prince Pückler, who had grown up speaking French, kept a small dictionary in which ...

"Temple of Seboua"
(Stiftung Fürst-Pückler-Museum Park und Schloss Branitz)

The watercolor drawing is very likely from Prince Pückler himself. Pictured is the temple of Seboua (today: Wadi es-Seboua or Wadi as-Subu) in the Nubian desert (today Sudan). In the ...

Machbuba grave at the St. Jacobi cemetery in Bad Muskau (Frank Vincentz, wikimedia, CC BY-SA 3.0)

The girl Machbuba
On his travel, Prince Pückler bought several slaves, including children. One of the children was the Abyssinian girl Machbuba. On his travels and in his writings, the prince used the girl for his often deeply colonial self-promotion. But the prince's travel reports also show a very differentiated view of the people and society of the Orient. This dichotomy is discussed to this day. The life and experiences of Machbuba remained largely obscured in Pückler's stories. She died of tuberculosis in 1840, one month after her arrival in Muskau. Her grave can still be found in the St. Jacobi cemetery today.

Wilhelm Gentz - the painted Orient

Wilhelm Gentz in Oriental garb in the Alhambra, Granada (Spain), Photographie, 1847 (Museum Neuruppin, CC BY-NC-SA)

The fascination with the Orient of the Neuruppin-born painter Wilhelm Gentz (1822-1890) began in Andalusia in 1847. He visited the Alhambra palace and was fascinated by the "heyday of Arabian architecture". Later, Gentz made several trips to Egypt, Palestine and Asia Minor. His artistic renderings of his impressions made him the leading German representative of Orientalist painting.

The objects shown here about Wilhelm Gentz's life are in the Museum Neuruppin.

"I, for one, prefer to do original motifs"

Wilhelm Gentz, Letter to the publisher Georg Ebers, April 5, 1878

Meet at eye level
European Orientalist painting often proffered ideas and clichés. Not so in Gentz's case. His life and his work bore witness to a striving to understand foreign cultures and to meeting them at eye level. His pictures of landscapes, everyday life and people convey a varied and authentic perspective of the Orient.

Wilhelm Gentz: Prayer in the desert, oil painting, 1888 (Private loan to the Museum Neuruppin, Photo: Ronka Oberhammer / Lorenz Kienzle)

A small vessel with three engraved Arabic blessings and a Women's bangle from Egypt, 19th century (Museum Neuruppin, Photo: Ronka Oberhammer/Lorenz Kienzle, CC BY-NC-SA)

Spared from the fire.
Wilhelm Gentz also sends many Orientalika to Berlin from his travels. During the Second World War, the family house burned down completely. Only a few pieces from the Orientalika collection are therefore still preserved today. Two of them came to the Neuruppin Museum.

Wilhelm Gentz: Portrait of Mohammed Farady, oil painting, 1889 ((Theodor-Fontane-Archiv, Foto: Ronka Oberhammer/Lorenz Kienzle, CC BY-NC-SA))

Sensitive portraits
In 1877 Wilhelm Gentz returned from his trip with an Abyssinian. Mohammed Farady was a servant in Gentz's house. Shortly before his death, Gentz captured the Abyssinian as an independent personality in a sensitive and expressive portrait. Other portraits by Gentz also convey this impression.

Related Objects ...

Wilhelm Gentz in the Alhambra
(Museum Neuruppin)

Wilhem Gentz in Oriental garb in the Alhambra, Granada.

Portrait of Wilhelm Gentz
(Museum Neuruppin)

The portrait was made by Ismael Wolfgang Christian Gentz, the son of Wilhelm Gentz.

"Prediger in der Wüste"
(Museum Neuruppin)

Vor einem Abendhimmel über der Sahara umringt eine Gruppe aufmerksamer Zuhörer einen greisen Prediger. Das Thema Glaubensvermittlung im Freien hat Gentz vielfach variiert.

Egyptian landscape with palace
(Museum Neuruppin)

The drawing shows a landscape with palm trees with a palace behind it in the distance. In the foreground you can see the outlines of a herd of buffalo and a herdsman.

Bildnis des Mohammed Farady
(Museum Neuruppin)

Wilhelm Gentz kam 1877 aus Algerien mit einem Abessinier zurück. Mohammed Farady arbeitete als Diener in Gentz´ Haus. Kurz vor Ende seines Lebens hielt Gentz den Abessinier in einem ...

Oriental girl portrait
(Museum Neuruppin)

Portrait of an oriental girl.

German illustrated sheets No. 65, From the Orient
(Museum Neuruppin)

German illustrated sheet for young and old, No. 65, From the Orient, with the motifs "Market day in Cairo", "A storyteller in Baghdad" and "Water carrier".

German illustrated sheet, No. 158, On the ruins of ancient Egypt.
(Museum Neuruppin)

On the ruins of ancient Egypt. The motifs of the illustrated sheet drawn by Wilhelm Gentz show: on top, "In the Thebaic desert. Instruction in the knowledge of the starry heavens." Next to ...

illustreted sheets, No. 17, pictures from the desert
(Museum Neuruppin)

German illustrated sheets for young and old, no. 17, pictures from the desert. The motives of the illustrated sheet drawn by Wilhelm Gentz show: on top "camp in the desert", in the middle ...

Small vessel with three engraved Arabic blessings
(Museum Neuruppin)

A small Metal vessel with three engraved Arabic blessings. The handle has broken off. The vessel is from a bazaar.

(Museum Neuruppin)

Women's bangle from Egypt. Shape and pattern reflect the wearer's social affiliation and standing and indicate membership of a tribe or village community.

2 - German colonialism

Members of the 'Deutsche Schutztruppe' in Cameroon exercising, photograph, 1900 (Wegemuseum Wusterhausen, CC BY-NC-SA)

Germany became a colonial power relatively late. The first colonial initiatives were left to private companies. When these failed, the German Empire took over the territories scattered across Africa, Asia and Oceania. In the colonies, the military and civil service tried to enforce administrations based on the German model. Their aim was the economic exploitation of the colonies, but global strategic considerations also came into play.

The German public had little enthusiasm for the colonial aspirations. Economically, the colonies operated at a loss. Regular insurgencies were brutally suppressed. Objects brought over from the colonies can be found in the museums of Wusterhausen, Eberswalde and Falkensee.

Georg Ipscher - Surgeon major in Cameroon

Georg Ipscher (right) with friends, photograph, 1930s (Wegemuseum Wusterhausen, CC BY-NC-SA)

In 1884, Cameroon became the second German colony in Africa. Surgeon major Dr Georg Ipscher from Wusterhausen was deployed there from 1900 to 1902 for the "Imperial Protection Force for Cameroon". Medical advances eventually allowed the Germans to conquer the areas plagued by malaria, yellow fever and smallpox. After his deployment in Cameroon, Ipscher continues to be a doctor in the German army. After 1990, his estate was donated to the "Wegemuseum Wusterhausen" museum.

"For the European, the climate is not digestible, because once he loses his mental elasticity and psychological resilience due to a longer stay, on the other hand he is extensively exposed to malaria and its aftermath."

Georg Ipscher in the "General medical report on the Imperial Guard for Cameroon for the reporting year 1900/1901"

Georg Ipscher's 'Africa room' in his house in Wusterhausen, photograph, before 1935 (Wegemuseum Wusterhausen, CC BY-MC-SA))

"Africa room" in Wusterhausen
The estate of Georg Ipscher contains a photograph showing an "Africa room" in his house in Wusterhausen. The photo depicts numerous wooden statues, footstools, weapons, musical instruments and everyday objects of ethnographic significance. Only a few of these items made it into the "Wegemuseum Wusterhausen" museum: a wooden stool, a crocodile hide and photographs.

Sitting like a king
This wooden seat bearing the name and rank of Georg Ipscher is shaped, decorated and sized like a ruler's chair from the Cameroon Grasslands. At royal courts in Cameroon such wooden seats were a sign of status and rank and were reserved only for the king or his mother.

Wooden seat with carved name and rank Georg Ipschers, 1901-1902 (Wegemuseum Wusterhausen, photo: Ronka Oberhammer / Lorenz Kienzle, CC BY-NC-SA)

Related Objects ...

Photography "My hut with boys"
(Wegemuseum Wusterhausen/Dosse)

Inscription on the back: "Meine [Küche oder Hütte] mit Boys [Kate oder Koch] & vorüberziehende Batarga-Weiber" [My [kitchen or hut] with boys [Kate or Koch] & passing Batarga women].

Women preparing food
(Wegemuseum Wusterhausen/Dosse)

Inscription on the back: "Kribi: Frauen Kassada bereitend (Maniok)" [Kribi: women preparing cassava (manioc)]. From the general medical report of Georg Ipscher for the years 1900/1901: ...

Cameroon: Banguro Expedition, parading in Mandame
(Wegemuseum Wusterhausen/Dosse)

"Cameroon: Banguro expedition, parading in Mandame, 1900, autumn". From the general medical report of Georg Ipscher for the years 1900/1901: "The clothing of the coloureds consists of ...

Photo of the Yaúnde-Ngutte-Jabossi expedition
(Wegemuseum Wusterhausen/Dosse)

Inscription on the back: "Yaúnde-Ngutte-Jabossi-Expedition am 21.I.01 von Kamerun aufgebrochen" [Yaúnde-Ngutte-Jabossi expedition set off from Cameroon on 21/01/01]. The photo shows ...

Photograph of three members of the "Schutztruppe" and a woman
(Wegemuseum Wusterhausen/Dosse)

Photograph of three members of the "Schutztruppe" and a woman. The photograph was signed, probably by the depicted person: "Yoseph Davies, ?, Jacob, [T]Homas Mendy".

Ivory trader
(Wegemuseum Wusterhausen/Dosse)

Sought-after commodities included not just ivory, but also rubber, palm oil, coconut, bananas and peanuts. The Europeans mostly traded them for cheap industrial goods such as tobacco and ...

Family photo with Georg Ipscher
(Wegemuseum Wusterhausen/Dosse)

Family photo of Georg Ipscher (right) with his sister and another person.

"Africa Room" by Georg Ipscher
(Wegemuseum Wusterhausen/Dosse)

"Africa room" of Georg Ipscher in his house in Wusterhausen. The picture shows an object that is now part of the collection of the "Wegemuseum Wusterhausen" museum: the wooden seat based on ...

Wooden seat with carvings
(Wegemuseum Wusterhausen/Dosse)

The wooden seat was made for Georg Ipscher in Cameroon. It is decorated with carvings on both sides. One side: lettering STABSARZT Dr. IPSCHER [SURGEON MAJOR DR. IPSCHER]; other side: ...

Nile crocodil (Crocodylus niloticus)
(Wegemuseum Wusterhausen/Dosse)

The crocodile hide without head was identified by the natural history museum in Potsdam. Its characteristics suggest that it is a Nile crocodile, Crocodylus niloticus (LAURENTI, 1768).

Paul Richard Berger - Soldier in Kiau-Chau

In 1898 the German Empire exacts a lease agreement with the Chinese Empire over the Kiao-Chau region. The soldier Richard Berger also went to the east coast of China with the "protection force" sent to Kiao-Chau. He was stationed in the capital of Qingdao. Berger originally came from Großkorbetha in Saxony, but then moved to Falkensee near Berlin after his time in Qingdao. After 1990, colonial memorabilia from his family's estate were gifted to the local museum.

Map of the German Protected Area Kiautschou, 1907 (Museum and Gallery Falkensee, CC BY-NC-SA)

"May no Chinese ever dare to look at a German askance again! " 

From the "Hun Speech" (Hunnenrede) which Emperor William II delivered on 27 July 1900 in Bremerhaven on the occasion of the departing of the German East-Asian Expeditionary Corps to suppress the Boxer Rebellion in China.

Family life in the colony
In 1904 Richard Berger became a police guard in Qingdao. He married the German Anna Heinrich and they lived in the European quarter of Qingdao. Their children Curt and Elsa were also born there. With the beginning of the First World War, family life in the colony came to an abrupt end. The invasion of Japan was imminent. Anna Berger left Qingdao in August 1914. Her husband enlisted in the Landstorm troops. In January 1915, Richard Berger was taken prisoner of war by the Japanese; he returned to Germany only five years later.

This  commemorative sheet of German prisoners of war in Japan was sent to Anna Berger, lithograph, 1919 (Museum and Gallery Falkensee, CC BY-NC-SA)

Related Objects ...

Map of the former "German Protected Area" Kiau-Chau
(Museum und Galerie Falkensee)

The plan shows the "German Protected Area" Kiau-Chau on the east coast of China. The Chistus Church built in Tsingtau between 1908 and 1910 is not yet recorded. The plan therefore probably ...

Commemorative sheet of German prisoners of war in Japan, 1919
(Museum und Galerie Falkensee)

The commemorative sheet with the dedication: "To our compatriots in East Asia we, the former occupiers of Qingdao, dedicate this commemorative sheet as an expression of our deep gratitude ...

(Museum und Galerie Falkensee)

This Imperial War Flag was used in this variant in German East Africa from 1903/1904 and later also in Kiau-Chau by official bodies.

Friedrich Hauser - Planter in New Guinea

Bernhard Friedrich Hauser (1878-1944) was born in Mülheim an der Ruhr. He lived in the German New Guinea colony for 26 years where he probably worked as a planter. Back in Germany, Hauser attempted to make a fresh start. In 1921 he purchased the Zainhammer forest restaurant in Eberswalde. The main attraction of the restaurant was the "colonial room" containing souvenirs from the South Seas as well as objects from Africa and Asia. It is likely that Hauser bought these items, because there is currently no evidence that he had travelled there himself.

Arrows, lances and spears of mostly unexplained origin from the Hauser Collection (Museum Eberswalde, photo: Ronka Oberhammer / Lorenz Kienzle, CC BY-NC-SA)

"Recommend my newly equipped tropical room, a collection from the colonies, to visit. Fritz Hauser."

Advert in an Eberswalde daily newspaper from 1928

"Colonial Room" doesn't bring a boom
The collection was meant to attract guests, because people's fascination with foreign animals and regions continued unabated. There was a burgeoning enthusiasm for German colonialism between the world wars. But the restaurant was burdened with debts and never really took off. Hauser was forced to sell it in 1939 and moved to the nearby town of Finowfurt. He died there in 1944.

The 'Restaurant Zainhammer' in Eberswalde in 1930, postcard (Christina Wühle Collection, Eberswalde, RR-F)

List with gaps
After the failure of his restaurant, Friedrich Hauser donated his collection to the town of Finow in 1939. The preserved list of transferred items with 325 numbers and about 430 pieces includes zoological specimens, ethnographic objects, weapons, pictures and photos. Only a few remaining items from the collection end up in the Museum Eberswalde in 1960. The list from 1939 contains very little information. In most cases we do not know where the objects came from, their original function or how Friedrich Hauser acquired them. These are questions that are yet to be answered.

First sheet of the donation list of the Hauser Collection to the city of Finow, 1939 (Museum Eberswalde, CC BY-NC-SA)

Related Objects ...

Donation list
(Museum Eberswalde)

Donation list of the Hauser collection to the town of Finow. In 1939 Friedrich Hauser donated his collection to the town of Finow. This list contains the transferred objects. There are 325 ...

Baton for sing-sing
(Museum Eberswalde)

Baton for ritual chanting and dance (Sing Sing) in Papua New Guinea, made from one piece.

Bow with string
(Museum Eberswalde)

The precise origin of the bow with string is not known.

Bow with string
(Museum Eberswalde)

The bow originally comes from South New Guinea. The circumstances of how Friedrich Hauser acquired it are not currently known.

Large fencers snail shell
(Museum Eberswalde)

The shell comes from a Caribbean sea snail species, the queen conch, Lobatus gigas, Strombus gigas (L., 1758). Not all objects of the Hauser collection survived above ground. This sea snail ...

Back shell of a green turtle
(Museum Eberswalde)

It is the dorsal shell of a green sea turtle, Chelonia mydas (LINNAEUS, 1758). This turtle species can be in all tropical and subtropical seas.

Snake skin of the rock python
(Museum Eberswalde)

Snake skin of the southern rock python, Python natalensis (SMITH, 1840). This snake species can be found in Central and South Africa.

Two toothed jaws of a knifetooth sawfish
(Museum Eberswalde)

Two toothed jaws of a knifetooth sawfish, Anoxypristis cuspidata (LATHAM, 1794), which also lives off the coast of New Guinea.

Pumpkin calabash with decor
(Museum Eberswalde)

The pumpkin calabash with decoration comes from the Hermit Islands (a group of islands north of New Guinea). The pumpkins were grown locally or imported from the nearby Admiralty Islands, ...

Different throwing and thrust weapons
(Museum Eberswalde)

Arrows, lances and spears of mostly unknown origin from the Hauser collection. The spears with metal tips may originate in Africa (Cameroon?).

Postcard Waldrestaurant Zainhammer, 1930
(Museum Eberswalde)

Restaurant Zainhammer in Eberwalde in 1930. The two people in front of the stairway entrance may be Friedrich and Clara Hauser. The restaurant had a "colonial room" where Friedrich Hauser ...

Zeitungsanzeige für ein Kaffee-Konzert
(Museum Eberswalde)

Mit dieser Zeitungsanzeige warb Friedrich Hauser für ein Kaffee-Konzert in seinem Waldrestaurant Zainhammer. Dabei weist er auch auf das "neu ausgestattete Tropenzimmer" hin, in dem "eine ...

3 - Postcolonialism

With its defeat in the First World War, Germany loses all its colonies. Other European countries held on to their possessions until the 1970s before the will for independence and revolutions prevailed. The colonial period had brought enormous social, political and economic upheavals to the regions. The structures and attitudes imposed by the colonial masters still characterise the now independent countries today. In Brandenburg, collections in the Lübben Castle and the natural history museum in Potsdam tell about postcolonialism.

At the general assembly of the Sumu organization ANCS (National Association of Sumu Communities) in 1980, photography (Museum Schloss Lübben, CC BY-NC-SA)

Götz von Houwald - Diplomat in Central America

The diplomat Götz von Houwald (1913-2001), who grew up in Lübben, worked in Central and South America for Germany since the 1950s. Among other places, he worked in Peru and Nicaragua, which were Spanish colonies until the 1820s. The purchase of ceramics from archaeological finds is a popular hobby among diplomats and teachers at German schools abroad, a practice that bears traits of a colonialist mindset. Götz von Houwald is also a passionate collector of pre-Columbian art.

Götz von Houwald with parts of his collection, photography (Museum Schloss Lübben, CC BY-NC-SA)



Nasca cup with five so-called rain gnomes, 400 AD (Museum Schloss Lübben, on loan from Dr. Götz-Dieter Freiherr von Houwald, photo: Ronka Oberhammer / Lorenz Kienzle, CC BY-NC-SA)

Rain gnomes in Lower Lusatia
Götz von Houwald collected more than 750 objects, mostly from Central America, but also, like this colorful Nasca cup, from South America. Later he began to reflect on the moral illegitimacy of his actions. Due to his family connections to Lower Lusatia, he bequeathed part of the collection to the Lübben Castle museum. Some objects do not yet have proper caption and we would welcome suggestions.

Related Objects ...

Cup with five so-called rain dwarfs
(Stadt- und Regionalmuseum Lübben)

Around 300 BC the Nasca culture developed on the south coast of Peru. It is particularly known for its colorful ceramics. The painting on this cup shows five human-like figures. Everyone ...

Nazca plate with fish depiction
(Stadt- und Regionalmuseum Lübben)

A deep ceramic plate with interior decoration. The reddish-brown base has a multicoloured depiction of two broad fish (tuna?). The inner rim of the plate is decorated with a multicoloured ...

Stirrup vessel (seated man)
(Stadt- und Regionalmuseum Lübben)

The Moche culture, which developed on the north coast of Peru in the first century AD, produced a lot of pottery. This multi-coloured painted stirrup vessel is in the shape of a seated man ...

Stirrup vessel with seated warrior
(Stadt- und Regionalmuseum Lübben)

The ceramic vessel has a spout and handle in the shape of a stirrup. On it sits a cross-legged figure in warrior's gear with nose and ear jewellery.

Stirrup vessel painted all around
(Stadt- und Regionalmuseum Lübben)

Rotund stirrup vessel with painted scene of marching warriors all around.

Papagayo Bowl
(Stadt- und Regionalmuseum Lübben)

A ceramic vessel in the shape of a turtle, which carries a bowl. Piece of pottery with a light background painted in red/orange and with a black border. There is a mythical bird figure on ...

Cup with sculptural figurative representation
(Stadt- und Regionalmuseum Lübben)

Multicoloured cup with sculptural figurative representation.

Miniature vessel
(Stadt- und Regionalmuseum Lübben)

A miniature vessel with a multicoloured vertical and horizontal stripe pattern.

Miniature spherical vessel depicting two faces
(Stadt- und Regionalmuseum Lübben)

A miniature spherical vessel depicting two faces. This is an example of the so-called black ware pottery.

Lid of an incense burner
(Stadt- und Regionalmuseum Lübben)

The lid of the incense burner has the shape of a chameleon-like, mythical creature.

Ocarina in the shape of an animal
(Stadt- und Regionalmuseum Lübben)

A ceramic vessel flute (ocarina) in the shape of an animal (bird?).

General Assembly of the Sumu Organization ANCS 1980
(Stadt- und Regionalmuseum Lübben)

Sumu folk dances at the National Association of Sumu Communities (ANCS) in 1980.

„There are word formations of poetic beauty, such as "yalawas" = star water, for dew, the dew that settles on the grass in the cool of the morning whose individual drops glitter like stars in the first rays of the sun.“

G.v. Houwald in his book "Oral traditions of the Sumu-Indians", 1984

Support for the Mayangna
After his retirement in 1975, Götz von Houwald campaigned for the Mayangna  in Nicaragua. The indigenous population living in the north of the country experienced hardship during the Sandinista revolution. Von Houwald established a foundation to support the Mayangna and was particularly committed to documenting their language. Götz von Houwald's estate in the museum in Lübben includes numerous tape recordings of oral traditions. The recordings are to be made available to projects dedicated to the digitisation of indigenous languages and that make them accessible to today's speakers and the heirs of these cultures.

Wall hanging from the Mayangna village of Musawas (Museum Schloss Lübben, on loan from Dr. Götz-Dieter Freiherr von Houwald, Photo: Ronka Oberhammer / Lorenz Kienzle, CC BY-NC-SA)

Sumu on tape

Song titled "Beautiful Girl" in Sumu, the language of the Mayangna.

Original commentary by Götz von Houwald on the song "Beautiful Girl".

Revolutionary song. The song was recorded during the Sandinista Revolution in spring 1981.

Original commentary by Götz von Houwald on the revolutionary song.


Three Mayangna musicians during sound recordings, Nicaragua, around 1980 (Museum Schloss Lübben, CC BY-NC-SA)

Related Objects ...

Wall hanging from the Mayangna village of Musawás
(Stadt- und Regionalmuseum Lübben)

The wall hanging comes from the Mayangna village of Musawas in northern Nicaragua on the Waspuk river. It depicts a landing stage with boat. The traditional house is situated above the ...

Photography of Musawas
(Stadt- und Regionalmuseum Lübben)

A photograph of the village of Musawas on the Rio Waspuk with its traditional houses, of which one is also shown on the wall hanging.

Mayangna musician
(Stadt- und Regionalmuseum Lübben)

This picture was probably taken from one of Götz von Houwald's recordings. A small recording device can be seen on the table behind the three guitarists.

Song "beautiful girl"
(Stadt- und Regionalmuseum Lübben)

A song entitled "Beautiful Girl" in Sumu, the language of the Mayangna.

Comment on song "Beautiful girl"
(Stadt- und Regionalmuseum Lübben)

Original comment by Götz von Houwald about the song "beautiful girl".

Revolutionary song
(Stadt- und Regionalmuseum Lübben)

The song was recorded during the Sandinista revolution in spring 1981. The song is about Carlos Fonseca (1936-1976) and Comandante Cero. Carlos Fonseca is one of the founders of the ...

Comment about the revolutionary song
(Stadt- und Regionalmuseum Lübben)

Original comment by Götz von Houwald about the revolutionary song.

Werner Lamberz - GDR politician in Cuba

The liberation history of Cuba is impressive: Freed from Spanish colonial rule in 1898, formal independence from the USA in 1902, sovereignty in 1934 and Fidel Castro's socialist revolution against the Batista dictatorship in 1959. The kindred spirits in East Germany are initially suspicious about the confident Cuban state. It was not until head of state Erich Honecker's time that a close relationship was established, which brought sugar, bananas and the Cuban orange, a notoriously fibrous fruit, to East Germany. In 1971, a crocodile makes its way from the Caribbean island to East Germany.

Preparation of a Cuban Crocodile, around 1970 (Potsdam Natural History Museum, photo: Ronka Oberhammer / Lorenz Kienzle, CC BY-NC-SA)

Castros crocodile
The crodcodile is a gift from Fidel Castro to Werner Lamberz, member of the Politburo of the CC of the SED. Lamberz is a friend of Castro and his personal advisor during the first state visit of the Cuban President to East Germany in 1972. The crocodile has had its place in the Lamberz family's winter garden for a long time. Then in 2014 it will be a gift to the Potsdam Natural History Museum. Here it is an exotic that also receives special attention from a conservation point of view.

Related Objects ...

Animal preparation
(Naturkundemuseum Potsdam)

This prepared crocodile travelled in a three-metre long box from Cuba to Berlin via Moscow and finally to the home of the Lamberz family in Wandlitz. It is a personal gift from Cuban ...

Brandenburg museums

European colonialism has worked its way into the smallest places around the world. People from Brandenburg also visited distant lands. They brought new things, stories, experiences and perspectives home. Your contact with the wider world in turn influenced the hometown towns and villages. Brandenburg museums tell of these characteristics. They combine local and regional history with global history. Visit our museums to learn more about them.

We have information on Brandenburg's museums on the website of the Brandenburg Museum Association:

Many other digital objects and stories from Brandenburg's museums can be found on the museum portal museum-digital:Brandenburg.


The exhibition will be published by

Museumsverband des Landes Brandenburg e.V.
Am Bassin 3
14467 Potsdam

legally represented by Dr. Susanne Köstering, Geschäftsführerin
Telefon: +49 331 23 27 912, Fax: +49 331 23 27 920

The exhibition was created with the module md/story and presented on the platform

Cooperation partner: Stiftung Fürst-Pückler-Museum Park und Schloss Branitz-Cottbus (Dr. Simone Neuhäuser, Susann Harder), Museum Eberswalde (Birgit Klitzke, Doreen Pagel, Wolfgang Stohr), Museum und Galerie Falkensee (Gabriele Helbig, Bert Krüger), Schloss & Gut Liebenberg (Dr. Thomas Steller), Museum Schloss Lübben (Dr. des. Corinna Junker, Marianne Wenzel), Museum Neuruppin (Maja Peers-Oeljeschläger, Carola A. Zimmermann), Naturkundemuseum Potsdam (Dr. Jobst Pfaender, Dr. Dirk Berger, Christian Blumenstein, Nancy Armas Martinez), FH-Potsdam (Prof. Dr. Jan Raue, Janin Opel), Wegemuseum Wusterhausen/Dosse (Katharina-A. Zimmermann), museum-digital (Joshua Enslin)

Conception: Dr. Ulrike Kersting, Dr. Susanne Köstering, Arne Lindemann
Texts: Dr. Ulrike Kersting, Arne Lindemann
Editorial staff: Dr. Susanne Köstering, Alexander Sachse, Lisa Gösel
Technical implementation and design: Joshua Enslin
Object photography: Lorenz Kienzle und Ronka Oberhammer (if not stated otherwise)
Video clips: Alexandra Pohlmeier

We thank you for the opportunity to show pictures of loans to the participating museums: Theodor Fontane Archiv Potsdam, Erbengemeinschaft nach Fürst Pückler in Branitz; Familienverband der Grafen, Freiherrn und Herren von Houwald e.V., insbesondere Eberhard Freiherr von Houwald.

We thank for the support with the content research: Dr. Claudia Kalka (Ethnologin, Museumsverbund Nordfriesland), Dr. Miriam Kühn (Kuratorin, Museum für Islamische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz), Prof. Dr. Angelika Lohwasser (Institut für Ägyptologie und Koptologie, Universität Münster), Prof. Dr. Stephan Seidlmayer (Direktor der Abteilung Kairo des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts)

The project was funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and Culture of the State of Brandenburg.