“Diversity of East Asian and European divination”

Exhibition “Signs of the Future” – with participation of the Cluster of Excellence

© Germanischen Nationalmuseums Nürnberg

Due to corona, the exhibition “Signs of the Future: Divination in East Asia and Europe", in which the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” at the University of Münster is involved, has started digitally. Bringing together 130 objects from all over the world, the exhibition of the Germanisches National Museum Nuremberg (GNM) focuses on a variety of forms, instruments and protagonists of East Asian and European divination, which range from “inspired seeing” to the interpretation of astral constellations and celestial signs, and to complex mathematical procedures to win the lottery. The link to the digital exhibition will be announced here soon. Before the digital exhibition is launched, the museum’s digital story “Signs of the Future” will give an insight into the exhibition’s diversity.

As the organizers of the exhibition say, practices of divination promised with the help of higher powers to provide insights into coming events and thus helped orientate people in the here and now – for political decisions, medical treatments, and the central questions of life. The exhibition juxtaposes East Asian and European divination in selected pairs of objects, including handwritten horoscopes, handbooks on physiognomy and palmistry, and instruments of automatic writing. In addition to parallels and differences between East and West, the exhibition also illuminates the global transfer of cultural techniques of divination.

The exhibition was originally planned to be shown at the GNM from 3 December. The show includes results of the DFG project led by Professor Ludwig, Methods of transmission, viewing, use: Assigning meanings to artefacts of divination in Europe from the 17th to the early 20th century. The Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” is supporting the exhibition, which was developed in close cooperation between the GNM, the department of history at the University of Münster, the International Consortium for Research in the Humanities “Fate, Freedom and Prognostication” at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, and the National Museum of Taiwan History. (maz/vvm)