Thursday, June 14, 2012

A visit to Hamburg - the old Elbe Tunnel and the 'Museum für Völkerkunde' (ethnology)

As you have noticed I suffer a bit from 'bloggers block' even though I have loads of beautiful photos and stories to tell. However, I discovered a strategy on the net against writer's block:
Force yourself to write down something, however poorly worded ...
I thought, hey, you can do that! A poorly worded blog entry, why not? So here it comes, a poorly worded ending to our Hamburg trip :)

A superb dinner at the Asian and vegan restaurant Loving Hut not too far from our hotel strengthened us for our last day in Hamburg:

We decided on having a look at the Old Elbe Tunnel and go to the ethnology museum (Museum für Völkerkunde). On our way to the Old Elbe Tunnel we saw a very nice graffiti on some stairs:

The tunnel itself was quite different as I had imagined. I thought the tunnel walls would have made a good canvas for graffiti and it would be covered over and over with some art works. So it came quite as a surprise:

a bit clinical, don't you think? But it can't be helped for the moment; at least there were some animals which accompanied you on your trip beneath the river Elbe:

Not far from the exit and entrance, respectively, are the Landungsbrücken (St. Pauli landing bridges). The water level tower built from tuffstone and adorned with Arthur Bock's (a German sculptor) allegoric sculptures of the four winds. This would obviously be the wind coming from the North:

A short break at the coffee shop Balzac (some kind of local Starbucks) with an orange spice soy latte (more like a chocolate pudding mixed with orange juice - but I'm willing to give it another try since it has got a nice atmosphere and friendly staff) gave C strength to go to yet another museum; although upon reflecting .. this is actually his first in Hamburg ...

At last we reached the ethnology museum:

Although it started as a small museum in a library it is now one of the largest ethnology museums in Europe. We were lucky and could visit the special exhibition 'emotive encounters  - nomads in a sedentary world'. They had quite some objects from Sami people, like these spoons and bowl made from reindeer:

But also the objects from the standard exhibition are quite impressive, spanning a huge time span as well as a wide geographical distribution. Some (nearly) wordless photos:

An Egyptian Naqada III bowl (ca. 3200 BC)

Nice black rim ware (Naqada I-II)

A pendant made from gold sheet from Latin America's Western Colombia (AD 200-1600)

A Chimú culture vessel (Northern Peru):

A Chimú culture round bottle with a human figure flanked by birds:

This was especially intriguing since it looks like an alien: a so-called Hareicha head dress, worn by the Gazelle peninsula inhabitants for dances. Since it is 6 to 7 m tall, men with long bamboo sticks had to stabilise the headdress of the dancer. They are a bit of a mystery though because when Papua New Guinea expert Dr. Antje Kelm showed the native  some photos of the masks (there are two left in the museum) which have been at the Vökerkundemuseum for about 100 years, they didn't recognise them at all. Maybe they are aliens after all.

 A flute from pre-contact Mexico:

Next I'm off to Durham, all on my own, i.e. archaeology!


  1. Really nice photographs and narrative here. I must go to this museum next time I am in Hamburg, it looks amazing. I love the Hareicha head dress. Left to my own devices I'd end up with one in my tiny cottage, ha ha!

    1. Probably not IN your cottage but possibly in front of your cottage *laugh* but please take only one with you :))