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(German, ‘wonder chamber’)

By the end of the 16th century the term was virtually synonymous with Kunstkammer. However, it was originally used in mid-century to describe a room containing a private collection of rare natural history specimens such as corals, but above all curiosities such as mandrakes, misshapen antlers, or narwhal tusks. Wunderkammern were predecessors of natural history museums.

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/kuns/hd_kuns.htm Description and illustrations on Metropolitan Museum of Art website.

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