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The King's Tomahawk: On the Display of the Other in Seventeenth-Century Sweden, and After
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Art History.
2011 (English)In: Konsthistorisk Tidskrift, ISSN 0023-3609, E-ISSN 1651-2294, Vol. 80, no 2, 124-135 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In a showcase at the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm a tomahawk is displayed, made in eastern North America and dated back to the seventeenth century. Besides being a precious and unusually well-preserved example from its time, of the material culture of Native Americans, it is also incorporated in a narrative on cultural encounters and transactions, and on Sweden's colonial past. Already in the 1680's the tomahawk was on display in the Royal armory in Stockholm. It thus suggests that the young nation shaped its self-image not only in relation to other European nations, but also to the world outside of Europe. Taking possession of the world, materially as well as mentally, was an important part of the construction of a national identity. In this article I approach the tomahawk from two interrelated angles. An outline of the specific historical circumstances in which meaning and value was attached to the tomahawk will be followed by a discussion of the rhetoric of display, and of the concrete display situations in which the tomahawk has been involved, from the seventeenth-century until today.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 80, no 2, 124-135 p.
Keyword [en]
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-66840DOI: 10.1080/00233609.2011.558210ISI: 000293187900005OAI: diva2:469780
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, , P09-0108:1-E

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Available from: 2011-12-27 Created: 2011-12-21 Last updated: 2012-10-03Bibliographically approved

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Snickare, Mårten
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