Colombo Museum mystery post cards


These are two ancient postcards from the Colombo Museum. Classy aren’t they? No tourist board earnestness about Sri Lanka and paradise. Just a photo of the object. Followed by a minimal caption. The sepia photos and the ageing of the cards makes both timeless. They become artefacts of a different time.

Yet there is nothing to say what period there post cards are from. They were never sent to anyone. There are no dates or photo credits. These two post cards lack both a known past and clues to their origins. Museum artefacts without a history. I’ll let you appreciate the multiple levels of irony in that fact.

I found them during a clearing up operation of my overflowing desk drawers. If you got a clue about their historical context please leave it in a comment. I would love to hear if similar types of cards exist out there.

They remind me of an Anuradhapura era elephant oil lamp. Which I wrote about in my ancient post on the Colombo Museum but that is another post.

Old postcards each showing an artefact from the Colombo Museum

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3 thoughts on “Colombo Museum mystery post cards

  1. I guess these are in the tradition of post cards by the British Museum and others. The objective is to educate the public and showcase the museums exhibits, hence the focus on the object. See this old letter for example:

    http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/5th-august-1922/13/british-museum-postcards

    I’m not sure if the British Museum is still selling souvenir postcards but they do sell prints, probably because no one sends post cards any more?

    The next time you are in London someone could buy some nice souvenirs from a museum, instead of tacky stuff from tourist shops (not implying that you would, of course).

    http://www.britishmuseumshoponline.org/home+office/icat/home_office

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