Extra regional ethnography

Real objects, used, maybe poor, but original. These were the words by Malcolm Edwards (Senior Lecturer of Ethnography at the University of Michigan) who, in 1990, took part in the temporary exhibition production EXOTICA. The exhibition displayed together for the very first time items from Africa, America, Asia and Oceania, brought to La Spezia by explorers, sailors, researchers, travellers.
Collected as ethnographic data, spoils of war or simple rarities, all these items witnessed the encounter with far cultures met in different ways. From 1845 to 1936, weapons, ornaments, daily life objects, pictures, were bought, stolen or received as gifts and enriched the museum collection.
Emanuele Castrucci from Vernazza, missionary, Giovanni Capellini, geologist, Giulio della Torre, ambassador, Giovanni Podenzana, curator, Egidio Garrone, lieutenant, are the names of some donors. Thanks to them, nowadays the city museum collections include rare decorations of the Amazonian tribes Jivaro and Zaparo, objects made by natives tribes (Ponca and Omaha) from North America, ritual daggers from Indonesia, precious elements of the Japanese female toilette, pictures of the last Tasmanian, a rare Malanggan mask from New Ireland…
Nowadays the extra-regional collections are preserved in the Museum storage and can be requested by researchers; moreover are frequently displayed during temporary exhibitions.

List of the main Donors

  • Emanuele Castrucci from Vernazza, 1843, Amazonia
  • Giovanni Capellini, 1863, North America
  • Giovanni Podenzana, 1891, Australia, Tasmania, New Guinea – 1915, Japan
  • Egidio Garrone, 1896, Abyssinia (Ethiopia)
  • Giulio della Torre, 1904, Sunda Islands
  • Angelo Natale Zamolo and Italo Invernizzi, 1911/1912, Libya
  • Amedeo Chiappini, Mario Porqueddu, Angelo Alberti, 1935/1936, Abyssinia (Ethiopia)
  Emanuele Castrucci Giovanni Capellini Giovanni Podenzana