Reports on Conferences and Publications by Year

March 31, 2016

Compilation of Historical Materials from the Five Continents Museum’s Siebold Collection

Date of Publication: 31 March 2016

Editing and Publication:National Museum of Japanese History Inter-University Research Institute Corporation,
National Institutes for the Humanities “International Collaborative Research on Japan-related Documents and Artifacts Overseas” Project Category A: “Study of the Siebold Family Collection and Other Materials Collected in Japan and Taken Overseas in the Nineteenth Century”

This book consists of reprints and translations of various historical documents related to the Japanese materials collected by Phillip Franz Balthasar von Siebold (1796-1886), head doctor of Dutch Trading Post on Deshima, during his second stay in Japan in the latter half of the Edo period (1603-1868). These materials are currently held by the Five Continents Museum in Munich.

National Museum of Japanese History has since 2010 led the “Study of the Siebold Family Collection and Other Materials Collected in Japan and Taken Overseas in the Nineteenth Century,” a five-year sub-project of the National Institutes for the Humanities’ “International Collaborative Research on Japan-related Documents and Artifacts Overseas” project. This subproject particularly focuses on the items collected by Siebold during his second time in Japan, which have not received much attention in the past. In addition to carrying out an exhaustive survey Siebold-related materials held by the Five Continents Museum and creating a database
of them, it also consists of research on other related items.

Siebold’s second stay in Japan was between 1859 and 1862 (Ansei 6 - Bunkyū 2) and with his oldest son Alexander. During this time, he collected many items related to Japan. Immediately after bringing them home, in 1863 he held an exhibition of them in Amsterdam. A list of the items that were on display is found in a pamphlet entitled “Guide for viewing the collection of objects of science, art, and industry, and of products of the Japanese Empire, assembled by Jhr. Ph. F. von Siebold in the years 1859 to 1862, with the aim to spread knowledge of ethnology and of products suitable for export,” which has been included in this book. Through this and an article written in Nederlandsch Magazijn by P. H. Witkamp afterseeing the exhibit, one can get an interesting glimpse of its concrete details.

After leaving his job in the Netherlands in 1864, Siebold moved his collection to his hometown of Würzburg and held another exhibition there. During this time, he sought to sell it to the Kingdom of Bavaria in Munich. Both “Letter from Philipp Franz von Siebold to the King Ludwig II” (November 1864) and “Draft of the petition from Moritz Wagner to the Bavarian State Government for the purchase of the collection of Philipp Franz von Siebold” allow us to see the circumstances surrounding the sale of Siebold’s collection to the kingdom.

The collection’s content is recorded in detail in “Alexander von Siebold’s catalogue of his father’s collection in the Five Continents Museum, Munich.” According to a letter by Siebold stored in the museum’s archives, this catalogue was already created by 1867.

The final document included is entitled “Report by Moritz Wagner about the Ethnology Museum in Munich and the Siebold collection” (Allgemeine Zeitung, January 1868), on an exhibition held at Hofgarten in Munich.

Based on a cooperative academic agreement formed by National Museum of Japanese History with the Five Continents Museum and the Brandenstein family, this book is the fruit of

 

March 2016
Kaori HIDAKA , Principal Investigator
National Institutes for the Humanities / National Museum of Japanese History

Research Topic A: Study of the Siebold Family Collection and Other Materials
Collected in Japan and Taken Overseas in the Nineteenth Century

International Collaborative Research on Japan-related Documents and Artifacts Overseas
National Institutes for the Humanities

(Translated by Dylan LUERS TODA)


Click Here for the Table of Contents (PDF)