Travel & colonialism
Ernst Boerschmann. Picturesque China, Architecture and Landscape: A Journey through Twelve Provinces
New York: 1923
Ernst Boerschmann (b. 1873 Memelland, d. Bad Pyrmount in 1949) was among the first Western scholars to study the architectural history of China. He was particularly interested in religious cultures and classified buildings not only according to form and function but also to ritual use. One of his foci was the placement of pagodas in the landscape. Boerschmann’s first encounter with China dated to his service as a building inspector for the “Ostasiatische Besatzungsbrigade” from 1902 to 1904, when he first began documenting traditional Chinese architecture in countless drawings, plans, and photographs. The published results of this first stay gained Boerschmann funding from the German Reichstag for a three-year research trip to eighteen different Chinese provinces beginning in 1906. Boerschmann later held posts as professor of Sinology in Berlin and Hamburg. He returned to China one last time from 1933 to 1937. The work on display is Boerschmann’s most successful publication: Picturesque China. The volume appeared in 1923 with an impressive print-run of 20,000 in Germany alone, followed by two English versions published in London and New York respectively.
Ida Pfeiffer. Meine zweite Weltreise
“When I was but a little girl, I had already a strong desire to see the world”. Thus Ida Pfeiffer, one of the first female world travelers and explorers, characterized her irrepressible Wanderlust. Born in Vienna in 1797 (d. in 1858), Pfeiffer who loved wearing boys’ clothes in her youth took a first trip to Palestine and Egypt at the age of five with her father who gave her a boy’s education. His death when Ida Pfeiffer was nine forced a profound change of circumstances that would not allow Pfeiffer to pursue her passion for travel until after she had become a widow with grown-up sons. In 1842 she returned to Palestine and Egypt via the Black Sea and Istanbul. In 1846 she embarked upon her first journey around the world with stopovers in South America, Tahiti, India, Persia among other places. A popular account of her world travels appeared in German and English in 1850. The volume displayed here recounts Pfeiffer’s second trip around the world that she began in 1851. Pacific regions were part of her itinerary, including the Malay Archipelago, Borneo, Sumatra, the Moluccas, and Australia.
Friedrich Gerstäcker. Reisen
Stuttgart and Tübingen: 1853–1854
Friedrich Gerstäcker (1816–1872) was a German travel writer and novelist. He made four major visits to North and South America over the course of his life. This volume is the product of the second of those journeys, undertaken during the years 1849 to 1852. Gerstäcker was enthusiastic about the tropics and wrote favorable descriptions of Hawaii, Tonga, and Tahiti. The open page features a depiction of Tahiti that adds to the lore of the island as a land of beautiful women.
Hugo Zöller. Deutsch-Neuguinea und meine Ersteigung des Finisterre-Gebirges
Hugo Zöller (1852–1933) was a German journalist, explorer, and mountain climber. In the 1880s Zöller travelled throughout South America and Africa. His various activities on these journeys included writing books, serving as a war correspondent during British campaigns in Egypt, and summiting Mount Cameroon. In 1888, Zöller travelled to German New Guinea where he explored the Finisterre Mountain Range depicted here; he was the first European to traverse that mountain range. On the same trip, Zöller discovered and named Mount Wilhelm in the Bismarck Mountain range which is now recognized as the tallest mountain in Papua New Guinea.