Collector Johann Georg Schwarz (1800-1867)

Johann Georg Schwarz was born in Vienna. Like his father, he was a tobacconist and worked in his father's store, which allowed him a meager basic education. His interest in traveling arose from several trips through Germany together with his father. He undertook extensive tours of Europe and North America. Later, according to the 1881 inventory book, he was a "princely Reuss chargé d'affaires and American consul." Throughout the course of his travels, he developed great collecting zeal and, as a businessman and diplomat, amassed an extensive private collection of ethnographic objects. Among them was a mummified and tattooed Maori head, a mokomokai. After Schwarz's death, the head was transferred to the anthropological department of the Imperial and Royal Natural History Museum in Vienna and was later transferred to the Vienna World Museum. There are no details about the acquisition and the production of the prepared head. In the 19th century, a vibrant trade developed due to the great scientific and tourist interest in these Maori heads. They ended up in private collections, museums and universities.

Johann Georg Schwarz "Smoke merchant" lithograph by Josef Kriehuber, 1828.

Vienna Museum, photo 81.101

Inventory book of the Ethnographic Collection of J.G. Schwarz from 1881 with the entry on the tattooed Maori head from New Zealand under item 3.

Vienna World Museum, photo 011910 and photo 011930