Erbach’s Ivory. A modern Wunderkammer created by Goppion in Hesse

06 Feb 2017

Nestling amidst the Odenwald mountains, the Erbach Castle hosts the Deutsches Elfenbein Museum (German Museum of Ivory), a crucial chapter in the region’s cultural and industrial history.

In the late 18th century, Count Franz I of Erbach-Erbach established the town’s horn and ivory engraving school here at the castle to revive the dramatic economic conditions of the county through the production and sale of precious items created both for daily use and ornamental purposes. His initiative led to the area’s European standard craftsmanship that is renowned to date.

The completely darkened rooms at Erbach Castle provide a suggestive backdrop for an exhibition that features display cabinets, conceived as ethereal floating pillars of light. Designed without either base or frame, with partly satin-finished glass panels, these cabinets create a mysterious contemplative aura around the precious sculptured and engraved objects produced by the brilliant creative skills of the region’s craftsmen-artists.