In Renaissance Europe, Wunderkammers or a Cabinets of Curiosities were extravagant encyclopaedic collections of objects of all kinds, (precursors to museums), such as objects belonging to natural history (sometimes faked), archaeology, ethnography, geology, religious or historical relics, works of art, and antiquities. They were also known as Cabinet of Wonder, and in German Kunstkammer (“art-room”) or Wunderkammer (“wonder-room”), and later as Theatre of the World or Memory Theatre. Their purpose: to convey symbolically the owner’s control of the world through its indoor miniature reproduction. A typical cabinet of curiosities would include: an Indian deerskin mantle that had belonged to Powhatan, father of Pocahontas, a stuffed Dodo bird from Mauritius, the upper jaw of an armadillo, wampum belts, lathe turned ivory, Oriental footwear, carved alabaster panels, a mermaid’s hand, a dragon’s egg, two feathers of a phoenix’s tail, a piece of the True Cross, a vial of blood that rained in the Isle of Wight, and other rarities.
Although we have already been on the boat during survey and sea-trial, as we started exploring her more boldly now as owners, we found a cosmos of stuff: all kinds of things, in all kinds of hidden places. I was planning to write a list of the objects, which would be an impressive list in length and variety almost as the Wunderkammer collections, but I have no time for such a thing, so I will just give you an idea by mentioning a few.
In the galley there were all sorts of pots and pans, dishes, cups and glasses, electrical appliances such as a toaster, an electrical one-burner stove, ice-maker, small heater, and other such contraptions, some of which I don’t even know what they are for, and anyway, I will not be using them much, as they require electricity. I am planning to give them away to Cuban people (in Cuba). In the cabins, there were more such appliances, as well as a whole cabinet full of thousands of cleaning products, dehumidifiers, filters, gloves, sponges, and a cool little plastic hanger for drying clothes. Under the deck we dug up harnesses, life-jackets, buckets, flippers, goggles and snorkels, a pirate towel, some spare parts and instruments. And last, but not least, as I opened the storage under the bench in the salon, there they were, nice and cosy, forgotten, lonely, waiting to be rediscovered: two opened bottles of rum, one white and one dark, a bottle of French champaign, and two cases of beer! Who in their right mind will leave behind such a stash? Don’t worry, little stash, we’ll take good care of you, you won’t be forgotten never again.
We are still looking for hidden treasures, fumbling through the previous owner’s Memory Theatre.