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This talk will look into practices surrounding the collection and trade of insects in early twentieth-century Taiwan. It will explore the origins and entanglement of a mass-fabrication of research specimens, decorative art, and knowledge by focusing on two main actors, who both collected extensively but with different goals in mind. Hans Sauter, a German ento-mologist and collecting entrepreneur based in Taiwan, was interested in taxonomy and biogeography. He collaborated with the director of the German Entomological Museum towards what they called a “mass-fabrication of knowledge” about Taiwan’s insect world. Nawa Yasushi, a Japanese ento-mologist based in Gifu, founded his own insect research institute, which focused on applied entomology. In addition to research on insect pests and beneficial species, Nawa built an Entomological Factory, which mass-produced decorative objects such as paper lanterns or folding fans out of Taiwan-ese butterflies. Together, their activities established an insect collecting economy in Colonial Taiwan. Fleas, beetles, or butterflies became resources that were accumulated, sold, traded, and turned into artifacts – into seemingly authentic representations of nature for museum collections or into aesthetic objects for the decorative arts.

Please refer to the attached document.

Thursday, October 11th, 18:00h
Please note that this lecture will be held at the Kyoto centre of the École Française d’Extrême-Orient.