Precious Relics: Materiality and Value in the Practice of Ethnographic Collection is a four-year collaborative research project with three research goals: 1) to study the history of religious artifacts for ethnographic collections in Denmark, 2) to conduct new ethnographic collection trips, and 3) to design four museum exhibitions, which will be collaborations between source communities and Denmark-based researchers. All three of these goals will serve to both engage the public in the value of ethnographic collection, as well as study how religious artifacts (their creation, destruction, and preservation) index changing social values. Precious Relics is a collaboration between the Department of Anthropology at Aarhus University and Moesgaard Museum, funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research.

We are a growing team of primary researchers at Aarhus University: 

Jasmin Günther is conducting a subproject on Polynesian artifacts.

Ulrik Høj Johnsen is leading a subproject on Nepali artifacts, in collaboration with the Patan Museum and Lumbini Buddhist University.

Ton Otto is leading a subproject on artifacts from Manus, in collaboration with the Government of Papua New Guinea.

Cameron David Warner, who is leading a subproject on Tibetan artifacts in collaboration with the National Museum of Denmark, the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives.

A number of artists have contributed to our work including Joe Nalo, Tenzin Nyima, Dawa Thondup, Nyema Droma, lamas from Pema Ts’al Monastic Institute, and the fashion labels Hima Ālaya, REWA, and 1376 to name a few.