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The publications below can be bought from the Horniman's Amazon Marketplace Store.

Ekpu: the Oron Ancestor Figures of South East Nigeria

  • Author/Editor: Keith Nicklin
  • ISBN:ISBN 0-9518141-5TX
  • Price: £5.00 (limited offer)
  • Month of Publication: May
  • Year of Publication: 1999
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Edition: 1st
  • Publisher: Horniman Museum and Gardens

The Oron ancestor figures have long been regarded as among the finest examples of African wood sculpture. The late Kenneth Murray collected from villages around Oron in south-east Nigeria some 661 carvings of ancestors in 1944 and built a special museum to display them in such a way that villagers could visit and pay their respects. He also ensured that these fine carvings were saved from the ravages of termite attack. Keith Nicklin took charge of the Oron collection (now a mere 116 pieces) in Nigeria in 1970 during his period as Ethnographer with the Department of Antiquities.

In this volume he describes the art form in its cultural context and relates their unhappy history since they were first collected and catalogued for the Museum.

Nomads: Nomadic Material Culture in the Asian Collections at the Horniman Museum

  • Author/Editor: Ken Teague
  • ISBN:ISBN 0-9518141-6-8
  • Price: £5.00 (limited offer)
  • Month of Publication: August
  • Year of Publication: 2000
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Edition: 1st
  • Publisher: Horniman Museum and Gardens

The Horniman Museum and Gardens has had a long-standing interest in former and present-day nomadic societies. Systematic collections of nomadic material culture from several parts of the world have been developed as a result of the Museum's collecting policy.

The Asian collections include material from Mongolia, Tibet, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Iran and Turkey, and are particularly noteworthy for their tents; both trellis (yurts) and black-hair; and tent furnishings.

This book uses the Horniman's extensive nomadic collections, most of which have not previously been published, to give an introduction to the history and development of this fast disappearing way of life in Inner and Western Asia. The work is complimented by an appendix by Caroline Humphrey Inside a Mongolian Tent.

Collectors: Expressions of Self and Other

  • Author/Editor: Anthony Shelton (ed)
  • ISBN:ISBN 0-9518141-7-6
  • Published: September 2000
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Edition: 1st
  • Publisher: Horniman Museum and Gardens

Objects and collections share the capacity to possess many meanings. Meanings are both historically and culturally constituted, and rest on the socially generated and shifting public consensus that constructs a hierarchy of values; one which finds its most cogent expression in sumptuary, exotic or rare manufactures.

These essays explore the specific and changing motivations underlying the collection of ethnographic and oriental objects during the 19th and 20th centuries.

They provide particular examples of how museums superimpose their own meanings and classifications on objects that once held entirely different values for the people who collected or made them. The contributors draw on the rich legacy of ethnographic collections found in museums throughout the UK and elsewhere.

Re-Visions: Collections and Ethnography at the African Worlds Gallery

  • Author/Editor: Karel Arnaut (ed)
  • ISBN:ISBN 0-4518141-8-4
  • Published: September 2000
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Edition: 1st
  • Publisher: Horniman Museum and Gardens

The African Worlds Gallery of the Horniman Museum and Gardens opened in March 1999 and closed in Autumn 2016. In the three years preceding, the inauguration anthropologists and curators had been engaged in projects with artists, performers and their diverse audiences in the African mainland and diaspora (including Brazil and Haiti). 

In this volume, twelve researchers tell about the projects that directly informed the setting up of the African Worlds Gallery and produced some of its most outstanding displays. 

The research and observations that are presented here are the work of younger researchers such as Phil Cope, Hein Vanhee, Polly Richards, Tania Tribe, Michele Coquet, William Rea and Karel Arnaut, as well as established anthropologists, including John Picton, Joseph Eboreime and Emanuel Arinze. 

Oriental Visions: Exhibitions, Travel and Collecting in the Victorian Age

  • Author/Editor: Nicky Levell
  • ISBN:ISBN 0-9518141-9-2
  • Published: October 2000
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Edition: 1st
  • Publisher: Horniman Museum and Gardens

In 1852, the glass palace that had housed the world's first great exhibition was moved from Hyde Park to the village of Sydenham. The Crystal Palace soon became a popular destination, attracting more than a million visitors every year.

Levell examines the powerful, though selective, spectacles of distant oriental realities at the People's Palace, which enchanted the Victorian audience. She then looks at the romanticised representation of the British Empire's 'Eastern Possessions' at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition of 1886.

Together, these two complex and variegated invocations of the exotic Orient guided Frederick Horniman's travels and influenced the collections he came to assemble for his Museum. Levell explores the network of objects, individuals and institutions which gave rise to these 'Oriental Visions'.

Collectors: Individuals and Institutions

  • Author/Editor: Anthony Shelton (ed)
  • ISBN:ISBN 1-90333800-X
  • Published: October 2001
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Edition: 1st
  • Publisher: Horniman Museum and Gardens

Collectors, Individuals and Institutions brings together sixteen papers written by curators and anthropologists on the history and significance of some of the most important ethnographic collections preserved in British and Belgian museums.

The contributors discuss the origins of museum collections by focusing on individual collectors; the passionate but amateur pursuits of adventurers, missionaries, colonial officials and connoisseurs, as well as the more systematic labours of early scientists, and the effects that their often eclectic collections and tastes had on popular perceptions of other cultures.

The volume also provides cross-sections of the ethnographic holdings of Exeter, Ipswich, Manchester, the Horniman, Bankfield and Russell-Cotes museums and explores the strategies through which their collections have been assembled and the ways in which they have been used.

With its companion volume Collectors: Expressions of Self and Other, this work provides an indispensable introduction and guide to ethnographic collections found in the UK and elsewhere. Together these two volumes offer important insights into ethnographic collections and their potential value and contribution to anthropological enquiry. 

Performing objects: museums, material culture and performance in Southeast Asia

  • Author/Editor: Fiona Kerlogue (ed)
  • ISBN:1-903-33801-8
  • Published: April 2004
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Edition: 1
  • Publisher: Horniman Museum and Gardens

Objects can in many ways be seen as having a life of their own. For some, the final stages of this life are spent in a museum.

The essays in this collection explore some of the roles performed by objects from Southeast Asia at different stages in their lives, and the parts they play whether before, during or after acqusition by a museum.

The contributors consider the relationship between the roles of objects within their originating culture and as part of a collection kept by the museum, whether in post-colonial Southeast Asia or in Europe. What emerges as key is the point of intersection between lives and cutlures which the objects can represent, whether as sites of conflict, of negotiation or of connection.

East African contours: reviewing creativity and visual culture

  • Author/Editor: Hassan Arero and Zachary Kindgon (eds)
  • ISBN:1-903-33802-6
  • Published: 2005
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Edition: 1
  • Publisher: Horniman Museum and Gardens

Eastern Africa is often neglected in surveys of African 'art'. Masks and sculpted human figures, which are generally the main focus of interest for historians of African 'art', are most notable for their relative rarity when compared with the rich accomplished traditions of the Zaire basin and West Africa. Therefore the question most often posed by sceptics is: "Is there 'art' in East Africa?"

Although various theories have been put forward as to why, for instance, East African sculptural traditions are apparently 'inferior' to those of West and Central Africa there is no evidence, in the end, to suggest that East African peoples are significantly less concerned than other African people with 'beauty' (however it is defined) and with appreciation of apt or meaningful form and with creative expression.

The real challenge is not to explain why one culture produces more or less in the way of material objects than another, but to establish how particular expressions or forms of creativity relate to their makers' and users' intentions and how they function and are given meaning in particular social contexts.

Museums, Colonialism and Identity: A History of Naga Collections in Britain

  • Author/Editor: Andy West
  • ISBN:978-1-903338-04-9
  • Published: April 2011
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Edition: 1
  • Publisher: Horniman Museum and Gardens

Museums in Britain often contain large collections of ethnographic material collected during the colonial period, many from overseas cultures far away. Those who collected them and the curators who subsequently interpreted them did so in the context of changing anthropological theories about cultural difference.

Drawing on accounts written by colonial officers and administrators serving in the Naga Hills and a detailed survey of Naga collections in British museums, this study discusses the way the collections were shaped by the experience of the collectors and how the practice of collection played a role in the development of the Anglo-Naga relationship.

In particular this study reveals the flaws in colonial attempts to identify and classify people in the Naga Hills and shows how the collections can provide evidence, albeit partial and distorted as a result of the history of British involvement, of the Anglo-Naga relationship and of shifting Naga identities.


  • Authors: Edward Chell, Tim Corum, Anna Ricciardi & Hugh Warwick
  • Editor: Emma Brooker
  • ISBN: 987-1-903338-05-06
  • Published: November 2015
  • Binding: Hardback
  • Publisher: Horniman Museum and Gardens

Bloom is published to accompany Edward Chell’s exhibition Bloom, installed in the Natural History Gallery from July to December 2015.

Both exhibition and book take as their starting point the exquisite 'sun prints' made by Anna Atkins, the 19th-century pioneer photographer and natural historian. One of Atkins' rare folios documenting British seaweeds forms part of the exhibition and is at the core of the publication.

Bloom includes three essays. The first, by artist and writer Anna Ricciardi pieces together a portrait of Atkins, a significant but relatively overlooked figure, and gives insights into the social milieu that enabled her to produce her cyanotypes.

Edward Chell's essay discusses cultures of collection and display, from the early Cabinets of Curiosities and 19th-century herbariums to the museums we inherit today along with records of present day extinctions. Ecologist Hugh Warwick tracks the arrival of 'alien' plant species in Britain and questions the value judgements we make about such plants and their environmental impact. 


Gallery Guides, Catalogues and Books 

The Music Gallery: A guide to the gallery of musical instruments

  • Author/Editor: Margaret Birley; Contributors: E. Bradley Strauchen, Adrian Holloway, Gavin Dixon 
  • ISBN: ISBN 978-0-85555101-437-1
  • Year of Publication: 2009
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Edition: 2nd
  • Publisher: Jarrold Publishing

The musical instrument collection of the Horniman Museum and Gardens in south London is the most comprehensive in the UK. Instruments of traditional music, pop music, world music, orchestral music, early music and jazz are all to be found among over 1,000 examples on display in the Horniman's Music Gallery.

This guide to the gallery explores the highlights of the collection and the themes of the exhibition.

Wrapping Japan: Textiles and costume

  • Author/Editor: Fiona Kerlogue
  • ISBN:1-903338-03-4
  • Published: March 2007
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Edition: 1st
  • Publisher: Horniman Museum and Gardens

The exhibition 'Wrapping Japan' considers the ways in which textiles and costume are used to wrap both gifts and people. The catalogue contains essays on this theme, on the Japanese collections held by the Museum, on Japanese ceremonies, everyday clothing of the Meiji to Taisho periods, and traditional textile techniques. Richly illustrated with photographs in colour and with a complete listing of items on display.