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Canterbury’s Most Unusual Artefacts

If there is one thing Canterbury’s residents and visitors can agree on; this city has culture in abundance.

The city wall houses a collection of treasures from all around the globe. Here we take a look at the most unusual of these treasures; the ones you don’t expect the find, even though they are right under your nose, and best of all they are free to visit…

  1. Venus Flower Basket

1.Venus.Flower.Basket

Known as the Venus Flower Basket, this artefact is actually the skeleton of an ocean sponge.  In a recent TV series David Attenborough chose the Venus Flower Basket as one of the amazing creatures he would save.

Find me: Materials & Masters, The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge

 

  1. A piece of wood from Nelson’s HMS Victory

2.Nelson.Ship

The death of Nelson on-board HMS Victory during the Battle of Trafalgar is an iconic moment in world history. A small piece of this famous vessel now resides in the heart of historic Canterbury.

Find me: Materials & Masters, The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge

 

  1. A Mastodon Jaw

3.Mastdon.Jaw

Canterbury curator John Brent exchanged the original with the British Museum for this cast and various other fossil specimens.

Find me: Explorers & Collectors, The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge

 

  1. Face Slapper

4.Face.Slapper

Reverend Henry Lansdell (1841-1919) was born in Tenterden Kent. His ground-breaking and arduous journeys became the basis of British academic studies of Siberia, Central Asia, China and beyond. Collected during his travels from Kashgar prison, China, was the ‘Face Slapper’, and was described by Lansdell as “for slapping naughty women’s faces”.

Find me: Explorers & Collectors, The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge

 

  1. ‘Temple’ sword

5.Temple.Sword.000

Angled swords like this are rare and known as Temple Swords. They are associated with the Nair people of Malabar and were used for religious and domestic ceremonies (18th Century).

Find me: Explorers & Collectors, The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge

 

  1. Narwhal Tusk

Given to the Beaney by Reverend Holman who took part in the search for Sir John Franklin’s doomed Artic expedition to find the North-West passage.

Find me: Cabinet of Curiosities, The Study, The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge

 

  1. Mummified Cat (3000 BC to 400 AD)

7.Mummified.Cat

In Ancient Egypt Mummification was not limited to humans. This mummified cat would have had its insides removed and filled with earth or sand before being wrapped in bandages soaked in salt or resin. Bandages have been removed from the cat’s nose and mouth so you can still see its sharp teeth, fur and whiskers.

Find me: Explorers & Collectors, The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge

 

  1. Two-headed shark in a jar

8.Two.Headed.Cat

As it says on the tin. Also look out for the three-legged duckling.

Find me: Cabinet of Curiosities, The Study, The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge

 

You can explore more of The Beaney’s unusual collections here   http://canterburymuseums.co.uk/collections/collection-at-the-beaney/

To find out more about these unusual artefacts visit The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge, 18 High Street, Canterbury.

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