Repräsentationen des Anderen: Das Konzept des Außereuropäers in den Sammlungen und Reisetexten Arthur Baesslers

Baessler-Archiv 54.2006:29-50
Keywords: Baessler, A., museology, travelogues, ethnographica, stereotypes, colonialism

Representations of the other: The concept of the extra-European in the collection and travelogues of Arthur Baessler
##The collector and traveler Arthur Baessler played an important role in the development of German Ethnographic Museums at the end of the 19th century. During his three journeys around the world, Baessler collected more than 3000 ethnographic pieces, approximately 30 anthropological objects, hundreds of photographs and naturalia. Baessler donated most of these artifacts to various Ethnographic Museums in the German Empire. What motivated Baessler, what exactly did he collect and why? The present thesis is that Baessler"s collections of material culture not only reflect his efforts to follow the ideals of 19th century ethnology of collecting "authentic" artifacts, but that they also reveal the specific stereotypes of the "Other" Baessler had in mind. Focusing on Baessler"s collection of ethnographic artifacts from Tahiti and Australia as well as the related travelogues, the article analyses the specific stereotypes of non-Europeans which are evident in these documents. It will be shown that Baessler atypically constructs the "Other" by following what Homi K. Bhaba recognizes as one of the main characteristics of colonial discourse: he represents the colonized in pictures that always seem paradox and ambivalent. The concluding remarks will draw some correlations between the ambivalent character of Baessler"s subjects of investigation and himself, his position as a patron, ethnographer and author.##