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By Susan Bracken, Andrea M. Galdy, Adriana Turpin

If accumulating the infrequent and precious is a wholly common trait of human behaviour, gathering gadgets from far-away locations has additionally lengthy performed a job within the background of accumulating. "East" and "West", or "North" and "South", for that topic, are after all solely relative to one's specific geographical place. for that reason, it truly is attention-grabbing that accumulating unique gadgets is an endeavour that unites humanity over millennia and around the globe. the traditional Assyrians did in order assiduously as eighteenth-century creditors in Paris or London; chinese language emperors accrued Western artwork and artefacts at a time whilst Western creditors began to assemble ceramics, lacquered furnishings, or South-East Asian prints. Key elements have been, in fact, more and more widespread touch and an ever transforming into wisdom in regards to the "other" and in regards to the other's inventive construction. Of specific curiosity to the challenge of this operating crew is the truth that the development of collections used to be in simple terms a part of the endeavour yet that, in lots of situations, the gadgets imported at large fee and logistic attempt have been intended to be displayed in atmosphere such as their unique habitat, even supposing their targeted unique context can have been open to discuss and their ultimate exhibition atmosphere can have been unrecognisable to somebody from their former domestic. Western creditors outfitted chinese language cupboards for his or her unique treasures, usually complemented through depictions of Oriental tea events. much less frequent is likely to be the truth that, from the 17th century onwards, chinese language emperors displayed their ecu collectibles in palaces equipped for them for this goal in Western architectural sort. The essays within the current quantity, consequently, try and attach the collections of unique items with the types of exhibit followed by means of creditors and associations and hence chart the degrees of more and more knowledgeable and intimate encounters among East and West, students and creditors, paintings enthusiasts and associations from the early first millennium BC to the early 20th century and from South-East Asia to North-Western Europe.

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In particular, it will examine the ways in which the kings of the Assyrian empire collected numerous objects, both inanimate and living, from the worlds that they had conquered, namely Syria and Egypt to their west, and imported other exotica from even further afield, such as Arabia and the Indian sub-continent to their east. The examination of these ancient Mesopotamian collecting practices will identify an early form of “Occidentalism” in which the West (in this case Syria, geographic Palestine, and Egypt) emerge for the Assyrian kings as places replete with exotic products, flora and fauna.

First and foremost, they may recognise that collecting and display have been royal and courtly prerogatives, essential to the creation of élite identity, since the advent of dynastic kingship. I have focused in this contribution on the period for which we have the most information 32 Foster 2002 and Ataç 2010, 82-3. 33 For further discussion of esoteric knowledge and exotica in the ancient Near East see Feldman 2007 and Ataç 2010. 34 For further discussion of the audience and display of Neo-Assyrian royal rhetoric see Thomason 2005.

The Epic reads: 6 Magness 2001, 92 and Prayon 2001, 335. Magness goes further to suggest that the Near Eastern immigrants themselves settled in Etruria and hybridised into the élite of the local society, thus it is not just ideas and goods that travelled and became appropriated, but people as well, who brought their ideas and objects with them. 7 Originally published in Burkert 1992, 129, and quoted in Magness 2001, 98. 8 See Rathje 2007. 4 Chapter One They stood marvelling at the forest, gazing at the lofty cedars, gazing at the forest’s entrance […].

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