Eu 00098

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Tea Bowl

Europe, Russia, Sarepta, Kalmyks


Wood, turned

Eduard Gehring (collector)

Donation to the museum by Gehring in 1900

Eu 00098

Not only did the famous circus director Carl Hagenbeck organize so-called ‘Völkerschauen’ (‘Human Ethnographic Exhibitionzoos’), but Eduard Gehring did so as well. He organized a ‘Kalmyk human zoo’ in 1883–84 and 1897, which also made a guest appearance at Leipzig Zoo in July 1897. To what extent Hagenbeck commissioned him is not known. He later described himself as an impresario, a kind of manager. It is known that he traveled to the Volga region (Sarepta) in preparation for the show in 1897.

As the only Mongolian-speaking and Buddhist community in Europe, so Gehring’s reasoning, the Kalmyks promised enough ‘exoticism’ in terms of their culture and way of life, to exhibit them in ‘Völkerschauen’. Scholarly exchange is already vouched for in this early period. For example, a Lamaist priest, who appeared as part of the Völkerschau in 1883–84, examined the Dresden Zoological and Anthropological Museum collections, today the Dresden Museum of Ethnology.

 Marita Andó