First nations

Royal collections


This catalogue presents the quai Branly's most important artefacts relating to the first nations of Canada and the United States. By re-inserting them within the context of the history of French ethnographic collections, we are able to appreciate the profound interest that Europe paid to other parts of the world and the way in which Europe has preserved mankind's cultural heritage. This unusual line of study shows the ties that united France and North America from the 17th century onwards. It concentrates especially on the way in which France viewed objects, which were initially considered as ‘primitive’ curiosities, but then went on to become true art objects.

These objects were collected by explorers, army officers, traders and missionaries who had been sent to the states of Nouvelle France or Louisiana and became part of the royal collections. A large collection of these objects was deposited in the Bibliothèque nationale de France during the French Revolution and the weapons were gathered up in the musée de l’Armée. Another collection was transferred to the municipal library in Versailles. Between 1878 and 1934, these unrecognised treasures were brought together within the musée d’ethnographie du Trocadéro (the future musée de l’Homme) prior to coming to the musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac.


112 pages • 20 x 26 cm • 11 €
Co-published by musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac / RMN-GP 2007
ISBN: 9782915133455