Anna Grasskamp

Hainhofer’s “Indian” Objects

The art agent Philipp Hainhofer’s records have been approached and researched from various disciplinary angles. Scholarship examines Hainhofer’s agency in relation to specific places and social circles (focusing in particular on his interactions with early modern patrons), but researchers have also investigated descriptions of the artifacts and books in which Hainhofer traded and stressed his significance for cultural exchanges between different European courts. A very important aspect of the Hainhofer heritage that still remains to be examined is the evidence that his writings present on “Indian” objects. Going beyond the expression “Indian” (indianisch), which other words did Hainhofer use to denote the material qualities and visual properties of foreign designs? How did Hainhofer’s terminology relate to descriptions of extra-European objects by his contemporaries? And what do the words chosen for the labeling of foreign artifacts tell us about the dynamics of extra-European and inner-European knowledge exchanges during the seventeenth century?