In the 16th century, exotic animals were all but unknown. However, thanks to its unique international port, Antwerp was one of the first cities where you could admire both live and stuffed exotic animals. In 1563, an elephant walked through its streets. Numerous prints and books looked at exotic fauna from distant continents: new animal species were described in scientific books, and print series were a source of inspiration for the arts and suitable material for new moralising messages.
In Wondrous Beasts on Paper in Plantin’s Day, members of the public had the chance to rediscover these remarkable animals. The Museum’s rich collection was the starting point for this journey of exploration, and was supplemented with superb pieces from other collections. The exhibition was ensconced in the Museum’s historic interiors, and became a true Wunderkammer – a cabinet of curiosities featuring natural exhibits such as stuffed animals, shells and oddities. The exhibition was part of Antwerp Animalized, the city project focusing on animals in 2007.