The term cabinet originally described a room, rather than a piece of furniture. Cabinets of Wonder, or Wonder-Rooms first became popular during the Northern Renaissance, but that popularity didn’t reach its apex until the Victorian era. Cabinets of Curiosity were also known as “Wunderkammer.”
Cabinets of Curiosity started mostly as rooms where amateur and professional scientists once kept their most prized specimens hidden away with seemingly no regard to if they were genuine or fake. Some of the early cabinets of curiosities contained items such as freakish biological specimens, horns, tusks, antlers, claws, feathers, skeletons, preserved fish, stuffed mammals and birds, including apparently mythical creatures such as a mermaid’s hand or a dragon’s egg. Items could include anything unique whether it be a curiosity found locally, ethnographic specimens from around the world, rare volumes of books, sculptures, or trinkets from exotic countries. These Cabinets of Curiosity can be seen as the precursors to museums.
These Cabinets of Curiosities expanded in popularity to rooms where society-folk proudly displayed their flashiest and rarest possessions for all to see. It still seemed as though anything was acceptable, although they seemed to prefer the more lavish items, such as art collections, sculptures, paintings, portrait miniatures, religious pictures, coins, medals, strings of carved beads of amber, gem stones, or pearls. However, even the bazaar and peculiar made it’s way into the most prestigious homes. Anything wondrously old, wondrously fine or wondrously small seemed to capture the admiration of family and friends. Obviously cabinets of curiosities were limited to those who could afford to create and maintain them.
In Victorian times, traditional Cabinets of Curiosities were still entire rooms that were filled with glass collection cases, but were mostly the realm of royalty and academic institutions. Before long, the tradition of Cabinets of Curiosities was no longer restricted to the wealthy. Having personal glass display cases to show off one’s most prized possessions hit the newly burgeoning middle class homes, and the “Curio Cabinet” was born, skyrocketing it to popularity.
Sacred Soulstice “Cabinet of Curiosities” This department will be photos and descriptions of Unique, unusual and Fun Items that may or may not have any metaphysical energies, but are just so much fun we had to share them with you. When appropriate and possible we will do our best to tell you where to go to see it, learn more about it, or purchase it.