Special event

Sun, Moon, and Stars
18 January 2019 18:00 PM - 02:00 AM
Sonne, Mond und Sterne
Special event
Sun, Moon, and Stars
18 January 2019, 18:00 PM - 02:00 AM

Together, we reach for the stars: enjoy a display of celestial acrobatics, discover what role heavenly bodies play in different cultures, and explore the night with the aid of an astronomer’s insider knowledge, galactic make-up, and new zodiac signs.

> Detailed programme at Museum der Kulturen Basel

The museum night is organised by museen basel and Basel Stadt's Division of Cultural Affairs. 36 museums and cultural institutions offer a variety of events: www.museumsnacht.ch

Tickets available at the museum's ticket desk.

> Calendar
> PDF

Sonne, Mond und Sterne

Guided tour

Sun, Moon and Stars
20 January 2019 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Guided tour
Sun, Moon and Stars
20 January 2019, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Are celestial bodies gods or stars? Omens or merely phenomena? Every culture and age has its own perception of heavenly bodies, as objects like the statue of the Aztec sun god Tonatiuh or the Indonesian horoscope go to show. The guided tour explores the many ways celestial bodies are understood and put to use, ranging from everyday items to venerated ritual objects.

> With Reingard Dirscherl

In German

Admission fee

> Calendar
> PDF

Guided tour

Secrecy
27 January 2019 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Das Geheimnis
Guided tour
Secrecy
27 January 2019, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Every one of us and every community has its secrets. Usually we keep them locked away in our minds, but one also finds them hiding in documents and objects: what do the secret writings of Batak ritual specialists hold? What is the meaning of the female figure on a Iatmul men’s house?

> With Christophe Schneider

In German

Admission fee

> Calendar
> PDF

Das Geheimnis

Special event

From magic wands to doping tests – What museum objects have to say about secrets
31 January 2019 18:30 - 19:45 PM
Von Zauberstab zum Dopingtest
Special event
From magic wands to doping tests – What museum objects have to say about secrets
Was Museumsobjekte über Geheimnisse verraten
31 January 2019, 18:30 - 19:45 PM

You encounter them in powerful conspiracies, in exclusive secret societies, as well as in every family: secrets! Secrets create boundaries between insiders and outsiders, and thus also make effective instruments of social order. The exhibition Secrecy – Who’s Allowed to Know What reveals how secrets are woven into all cultural narratives.

> With the exhibition curator Tabea Buri

In German

> Ticket incl. entry to the museum CHF 25

The event is part of the VHSBB programme “Secrets – Approaching a Common Phenomenon”. Information on the programme: Volkshochschule beider Basel www.vhsbb.ch

> Calendar
> PDF

Von Zauberstab zum Dopingtest

Guided tour

StrawGold
3 February 2019 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Guided tour
StrawGold
3 February 2019, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

How come a Bavarian dirndl is made of African cloths? Moreover, in what sense are these cloths still African? Objects, ideas, and technologies have been travelling between cultures since time immemorial. Get to know more about these fascinating entanglements.

> With Nadja Breger

In German

Free entry

> Calendar
> PDF

Kids and families

Kids’ carnival
3 February 2019 13:00 - 17:00 PM
Kids and families
Kids’ carnival
3 February 2019, 13:00 - 17:00 PM

We create a paper mask and add to it wild, funny, and colourful decorations with the aid of fur, cloth, lace, tulle, and colours.

> With Regina Mathez

Material: CHF 5.-

> Calendar
> PDF

Grasping anthropology

Noémi Speiser
6 February 2019 18:00 - 19:30 PM
Lebensgeflecht
Grasping anthropology
Noémi Speiser
6 February 2019, 18:00 - 19:30 PM

An intriguing lady with an intriguing passion: Noémi Speiser, 92, is an expert on interlacing and a fabric artist with a lifelong record of unravelling interlaced works of all kinds. In discussion with Sabine Rotach she talks about her fascinating research and her work as an artist. With examples of her oeuvre and objects from the collections.

In German

Admission fee

> Calendar
> PDF

Lebensgeflecht

Guided tour

From Maya script to website
10 February 2019 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Von der Mayaschrift zur Website
Guided tour
From Maya script to website
10 February 2019, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Chiselling texts, carving signs, painting symbols, digital data world: what does generating data actually mean?

> With Christophe Schneider

In German

Admission fee

> Calendar
> PDF

Von der Mayaschrift zur Website

Guided tour

BIG
17 February 2019 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Guided tour
BIG
17 February 2019, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Big doesn’t always mean the same thing. The guided tour tells you more about the cultural dimensions of bigness, with power and status providing two good examples. But how is size defined and measured? And what’s so impressive about big things?

> With Réka Mascher-Frigyesi

In German

Admission fee

> Calendar
> PDF

Guided tour

Basel carnival
24 February 2019 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Guided tour
Basel carnival
24 February 2019, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Since when has the Morgestraich been a hallmark feature of carnival? Why does the Basel carnival kick off at 4 a.m. sharp on the Monday after Ash Wednesday? Get to know more about the history of the Basel carnival, its cliques, as well as the famous Guggemusigg and Schnitzelbängg.

> With Liliane Vindret

In German

Admission fee

> Calendar
> PDF

Guided tour

Le Carnaval de Bâle
24 February 2019 15:00 - 16:00 PM
Guided tour
Le Carnaval de Bâle
24 February 2019, 15:00 - 16:00 PM

Depuis quand le Morgestraich existe-t-il? Pourquoi le Carnaval de Bâle commence-t-il le lundi après le mercredi des Cendres à quatre heures du matin ? Vous aurez un aperçu de l’histoire du carnaval et de ses cliques, « Guggenmusik » et vers satiriques nommés « Schnitzelbängg ».

> avec Liliane Vindret

en français

Admission fee

> Calendar
> PDF

Guided tour

Basel carnival
3 March 2019 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Guided tour
Basel carnival
3 March 2019, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Since when has the Morgestraich been a hallmark feature of carnival? Why does the Basel carnival kick off at 4 a.m. sharp on the Monday after Ash Wednesday? Get to know more about the history of the Basel carnival, its cliques, as well as the famous Guggemusigg and Schnitzelbängg.

> With Liliane Vindret

In German

Free entry

> Calendar
> PDF

Kids and families

My little stick lantern
3 March 2019 13:00 - 17:00 PM
Kids and families
My little stick lantern
3 March 2019, 13:00 - 17:00 PM

Forwards, march: stick lanterns are a typical feature of the Morgestraich. Make one with your own motto!

> With Regina Mathez

Material: CHF 5.-

> Calendar
> PDF

Grasping anthropology

How secret are secret societies?
6 March 2019 18:00 - 19:30 PM
Wie geheim sind Bünde?
Grasping anthropology
How secret are secret societies?
6 March 2019, 18:00 - 19:30 PM

Exclusive men’s and women’s societies exude a distinct fascination. What are often erroneously described as “secret” societies pride themselves on their impressive visual displays, including colourful dance staffs, richly symbolic costumes, and impressive masks, as we shall see on our tour of the exhibition Secrecy. With regard to European Freemasonry, we have asked an expert, himself a freemason, to provide a view from the inside.

> With Tabea Buri, curator of the exhibition Secrecy, and Michael Lang-Alsvik, freemason.

In German

Admission fee

> Calendar
> PDF

Wie geheim sind Bünde?

Guided tour

Basel carnival
10 March 2019 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Guided tour
Basel carnival
10 March 2019, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Since when has the Morgestraich been a hallmark feature of carnival? Why does the Basel carnival kick off at 4 a.m. sharp on the Monday after Ash Wednesday? Get to know more about the history of the Basel carnival, its cliques, as well as the famous Guggemusigg and Schnitzelbängg.

> With Margrit Gontha

In German

Admission fee

> Calendar
> PDF

Guided tour

Basel carnival
10 March 2019 12:15 - 13:15 PM
Guided tour
Basel carnival
10 March 2019, 12:15 - 13:15 PM

Since when has the Morgestraich been a hallmark feature of carnival? Why does the Basel carnival kick off at 4 a.m. sharp on the Monday after Ash Wednesday? Get to know more about the history of the Basel carnival, its cliques, as well as the famous Guggemusigg and Schnitzelbängg.

> With Margrit Gontha

In German

Admission fee

> Calendar
> PDF

Guided tour

Basel Carnival
10 March 2019 15:00 - 16:00 PM
Guided tour
Basel Carnival
10 March 2019, 15:00 - 16:00 PM

Since when has the Morgestraich been an essential part of our carnival? Why does the Basel carnival start on the Monday after Ash Wednesday and at four o’clock in the morning sharp? Magnificent historical rooms provide the backdrop to a comprehensive journey through all the intriguing facets of the Basel Carnival.

> with Margrit Gontha

In English

Admission fee

> Calendar
> PDF

Guided tour

Gender trouble
17 March 2019 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Guided tour
Gender trouble
17 March 2019, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

The guided tour looks at objects from the perspective of male/female relationships, revealing a number of surprising facets about “gender trouble” in the never-ending interplay of male and female identities.

> With Eli Wilhelm

In German

Admission fee

> Calendar
> PDF

Special event

Thirst for knowledge meets collecting mania
21 March 2019 18:30 - 20:30 PM
Special event
Thirst for knowledge meets collecting mania
21 March 2019, 18:30 - 20:30 PM

Human skulls, ivory tusks, and speers are among the items in our collection which today rank as sensitive objects. What made collectors acquire them? What was behind the collecting mania of earlier days, and what implications does it have for us today? Quench your thirst for knowledge.

Free entry

> Calendar
> PDF

Guided tour

Thirst for knowledge meets collecting mania
24 March 2019 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Guided tour
Thirst for knowledge meets collecting mania
24 March 2019, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Museums are facing challenging times: what seemed a must for an ethnographic museum in the past – for example, a collection of human skulls – has now become a sensitive issue. The guided tour explores the motives behind the collecting mania of earlier days and poses questions as to the appropriate handling of sensitive objects today.

> In German

Admission fee

> Calendar
> PDF

Guided tour

Secrecy
31 March 2019 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Das Geheimnis
Guided tour
Secrecy
31 March 2019, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Every one of us and every community has its secrets. Usually we keep them locked away in our minds, but one also finds them hiding in documents and objects: what do the secret writings of Batak ritual specialists hold? What is the meaning of the female figure on a Iatmul men’s house?

> With Sabine Rotach

In German

Admission fee

> Calendar
> PDF

Das Geheimnis
Museum > Collection

Collection

The collections of the Museum der Kulturen go back to the mid-19th century. With the valuable pieces from Ancient America donated by the Basel businessman Lukas Vischer, the city at the knee of the Rhine came into possession of one of the first ethnological collections in Europe.
Initially, private collectors used their own money to travel across continents and bring back to Basel interesting objects and evidence of everyday indigenous culture. What started as a small collection that was part of a universal museum developed, thanks to scholars such as Fritz and Paul Sarasin, Felix Speiser, Paul Wirz and Alfred Bühler, into a stronghold of scientific work and an ethnological museum of international standing. In the subsequent decades, they made further major contributions to the systematic expansion of the collection.

Today, the Museum der Kulturen Basel is among the most important ethnographic museums in Eu-rope. Its collection of more than 300'000 objects is impressive and of world renown. Over generations, comprehensive collections were built up focusing on particular areas, with valuable objects from Eu-rope, Africa, America, Oceania, Indonesia, South, Central and East Asia.

In addition to ethnographic artefacts, it also has a collection of around 50'000 historic photographs. These are both objects as well as a source for conducting research into the object.

At irregular intervals, individual collections are described and photographically documented on this page.

This site is still under construction!
Objects
Big Babanki, Hocker mit Menschenköpfen, Kamerun, 1962, Sammlung Basler Mission, Foto © Museum der Kulturen Basel
Opferhäuschen, Indonesien, Borneo, Kalimantan, vor 1935, Sammlung Basler Mission, Foto © Museum der Kulturen Basel
Priesterweste, Indonesien, Borneo, Kalimantan, vor 1935, Sammlung Basler Mission, Foto © Museum der Kulturen Basel
Ganesha, Indien, 1856, Sammlung Basler Mission, Foto © Museum der Kulturen Basel
Mahjong. Han, China; vor 1898; Bambus; IId 85. Mahjong ist ein Spiel für vier Personen und in Ostasien von ungebrochener Belibtheit. Unser Spiel hat 144 Spielsteine, Ziegel genannt.
Guanyin. Han, China; 19. Jh.; Holz; IId 1363. Die Göttin der Barmherzigkeit und des Mitgefühls ist die chinesische Variante des Avalokiteshvara. Sie verspricht, jene zu retten, die sie anrufen.
Essschale. Han Shandong, China; Quing-Dynastie (1644-1911), Quianlong (1736-1796); Porzellan; IId 478. Gerichte werden in Schalen und auf Platten in der Mitte des Tisches platziert. Jede Person hat eine eigene Schale, in die sie ihr Essen legt.
Bügeleisen (yuntou). Han, China; 19. Jh.; Messing, Holz; IId 9535. Zum Erhitzen wurden glühende Kohlen in das Metallbecken gefüllt und mit Sand vermischt, um die Hitze länger zu halten.
Weste aus Bambus. Han, China; 19. Jh.; Baumwolle, Bambus; IId 279. Das Unterhemd aus verknoteten Baumwollfäden mit aufgefädelten Bambusröhrchen schützte das Oberkleid von Körperausdünstungen.
Altar. Rajastan, Indien; 20. Jh.; Holz, Farbe; IIa 11492. Der Flügelaltar ist der Gottheit Vishnu gewidmet. Er wird von professionellen Erzählern genutzt, um die in Bildern dargestellten Legenden vorzutragen.
Göttin Kali. Indien; 2000; Holz, Gips, Karton, Papier, Plastikperlen, Metallblech, synthetisches Haar; IIa 11493. Die Göttin Kali, wörtlich: die Schwarze, wird in ganz Indien verehrt. Die zu ihren Ehren abgehaltene Zeremonien finden im häuslichen Bereich und im öffentlichen Raum statt.
Das Geistwesen Maha Giri. Yangon, Myanmar; 2000; Holz, Tüll, Stoff, Papier, Metall; IIb 4052.14. Nat ist in Myanmar die Bezeichnung für ein ganzes Heer von verschiedenen Geistwesen, die omnipräsent sind. Maha Giri wird in jedem Haushalt verehrt.
Stevenfigur. New Georgia Island, Salomonen; vor 1929; Holz, Nautilusschale; Expedition Paravicini 1928-29; Vb 7525. Die Figur wurde am Steven eines Kanus oberhalb der Wasserlinie aufgesetzt. Sie soll Gefahren frühzeitig erkannt und die Menschen davor beschützt haben.
Fasnachtslaterne. Basel, Schweiz; 1929; Holz, Metall, Textil, Acrylfarbe; VI 11885; Sammlung Paul Wilde, Basel. 384 x 266 x 140,5 cm. Grosse Zugslaternen mit satirischen Darstellungen sind eine Besonderheit der Basler Fasnacht. Dieses Transparent schuf der Kunstmaler Wilde.
Maske. Basel, Schweiz; 1950/60; Papier, Acrylfarbe, Pflanzenfasern; VI 71116; Sammlung Christian Kaufmann, Basel. 30 x 19,5 x 63,5 cm. Die in Basel etablierte Kunst des Larvenkaschierens ist auch ausserhalb der Fasnacht beliebt. Diese Maske entstand zum 60. Geburtstag von Prof. Alfred Bühler.
Männerkopftuch. Palästina; 1981; Baumwolle; IIe; Sammlung Basler Mission. 112 x 117 cm. Die kufiya, das in Palästina traditionell getragene Männerkopftuch, ist seit den 1970er Jahren zu einem Mode-Accessiore des Westens geworden.
Synkretistisches Amulett. Zizers, Graubünden, Schweiz; 18. Jh.; Pergament, Handschrift; VI 25297; Sammlung Emanuel Grossmann, Riehen. 174 x 5,6 cm. Das mit magischen, jüdischen und christlichen Symbolen und Formeln beschriebene Amulett belegt kabbalistisches Wissen im Alpenraum.
Rechtsurkunde, "Tessel". Albinen, Wallis, Schweiz; 1818; Holz, Hanfschnur; VI 6570; Sammlung Eduard Hoffmann-Krayer, Basel. 31 x 65,5 cm. Mit Hauszeichen und Kerben wurden früher Abmachungen zu Rechten und Pflichten einer Gemeinschaft festgelegt und garantiert.
Fasnachtslarve. Basel, Schweiz; 2003; Papier, Acrylfarbe, Baumwolle, Kunststoff; III 27550; Sammlung Maoua Koné, Bamako. In Mali vertraut mit Fabelwesen lernt die Marionetten-Künstlerin in Basel den "Basilisk" kennen und krönt damit eine Fasnachtslarve.
Anker. Insel Rügen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Deutschland; 19. Jh; Holz, Gneis; VI 48; Sammlung Paul und Fritz Sarasin, Basel. 85 cm. Sehr archaisch wirkt dieser einfach und günstig herzustellende Anker eines Ostsee-Fischers: Das Holzgeäst wird durch einen Stein beschwert.
Möbelmalerei. Toggenburg (?), Ostschweiz, Schweiz; um 1880; Holz, Ölmalerei; VI 25393; Sammlung Max Wydler, Zürich; 57,5 x 62,5 cm. Die Kastenfüllung steht für die in der Ostschweiz verbreitete Tradition der Möbelmalerei. Dieser Engel soll wohl die Funktion eines Schutzengels haben.
Eingericht, Geduldflasche. Burgenland, Österreich; 1901; Glas, Papier, Textilien; VI 56628; Sammlung Wolfgang Riedl, Wien; 23,5 x 7,5 x 11,5 cm. Gleich wie das Buddelschiff der Seemänner entstand mit geduldiger Hand diese als Wallfahrtsandenken dienende Arbeit.
Kleines Andachtsbild. Prag, Tschechische Republik; um 1850; Papier, kolorierter Stahlstich, Goldprägung; VI 12574; Sammlung Anton Pachinger, Wien; 12 x 8 cm. Ein Zeugnis für die schon früher über weite Wege gepflegten Beziehungen: Dieses "Pragerbildchen" erwarben Pilger in Triberg (Schwarzwald).
Grabtuch. Besançon, Doubs, Frankreich; ca. 1750; Seide, Stickerei; VI 20819; Sammlung A. L. Henry, Montreux; 20 x 27 cm. Bis Ende des 18. Jh. stritten sich mehrere Orte um den Besitz des echten Grabtuches. Hohe Verehrung genoss jenes im französischen Jura.
Wallfahrtswimpel. Antwerpen, Belgien; 1706; Papier, Druck; 42591; Sammlung Werner Konrag Jaggi, Zürich,; 13,3 x 8.5 cm. In einigen Gegenden Europas erwirbt man noch heute einen am Gnadenbild befestigten Wimpel. Seltener sind sie in ein Mirakelbuch eingefügt.
Votivbild. Polling, Bayern, Deutschland; 1835; Öl auf Holz, Silberblech; VI 30390; Sammlung Max Wydler, Zürich; 31,5 x 25 cm. Als sichtbares Zeichen der Dankbarkeit gegenüber einer göttlichen Macht lässt sich das Votoivbild auch als gemaltes Gebet bezeichnen.
Hinterglasbild. Czestochowa, Woj. Slaskie, Polen; 1981; Hinterglasmalerei, Holz; VI 57636; Sammlung Borys Malkin, Warschau; 44 x 34 cm. Erst im 18. Jh. findet das Hinterglasbild Eingang in die meist religiöse Volkskunst. Die Maria im Sträflingskleid entstand zur Erinnerung an ein KZ-Opfer.
^ go top