Short Portrait: Arthur Baessler

Arthur Baessler
Arthur Baessler

Arthur Baessler was born in Glauchau/Saxony in 1857. He comes from a family of merchants and craftsmen. His father owned a textile factory.

After finishing school Baessler studied Natural Sciences, Geography and Anthropology in Heidelberg, Munich and Berlin. Inspired by Adolf Bastian and Rudolf Virchow, Baessler deepened his knowledge on nonliterate ethnic groups and began to prepare upcoming research trips.

Between 1887 and 1889 Baessler travelled through New Guinea. This journey was followed by an expedition to Australia from 1891 until 1893 and a research trip to New Zealand, Polynesia and Peru between 1896 and 1898. Throughout these years Baessler not only collected a large number of objects but also a wide range of ethnographic data, including mythological and cosmological narratives of several ethnic groups.

After his return to Germany Baessler transferred his collection to ethnological and anthropological museums in Berlin, Dresden and Stuttgart. Moreover, he established a foundation for the anthropological research in Oceania.

Arthur Baessler died in Eberswalde in 1907.

(Text by Vincenz Kokot (2011) based on an article at; photo source: )

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