Collecting and the trophy
in Dividing the spoils
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This chapter contextualises the way collecting from military campaigns can be viewed as the acquisition of trophies parallel to the trophy collecting of hunting. From the eighteenth century onwards, hunting and shooting were seen as the image of war and were considered essential training for campaigning. Hunting produced natural history trophies which became a central collecting interest for museums, messes, clubs and private homes. The collecting of ethnographic trophies was closely related to this phenomenon in contemporary understanding, as part of a comprehensive approach to collecting the natural history of the world and its peoples. Colonial military campaigning was often associated with hunting expeditions and trophy collecting of both sorts took place. In the nineteenth century colonial campaigning and hunting stepped up its incidence and geographical range. Improvements in transport technology and auction-house infrastructures and advertising facilitated the dispersal of such materials. This chapter discusses the significance and meaning of such collecting in several ways: for the development of imperial ideologies, for the arousal of popular interests, and for the emergence of natural historical, ethnographic, anthropological and ideological concerns. It also examines how it came to be significant for the instruction of a wider audience, becoming part of imperial propaganda.

Dividing the spoils

Perspectives on military collections and the British empire

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