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Cosmographia: An Ode to the Cosmographers, Psychonauts and Hopeless Romantics Stuck in the Past


1: a general description of the world or of the universe

2: the science that deals with the constitution of the whole order of nature

from the Latin cosmographia or Greek kosmographia

A description of Egypt taken out of Sebastian Munster's 16th Century Cosmographia

A curious mind can be a devious thing. A killer of cats and breaker of chains, curiosity is both freeing and entrapping; it can consume you to the point of obsession. But it has also taken us far, and will likely take us much much further. Our endless endeavors to learn more, experience more, understand more...create more, mean that we can now touch the surface of Mars and see beyond the constraints of our limited human perception, to know that time doesn't move the way we feel it does, and that nothing is really as it seems. These are feats we couldn't achieve if it weren't for the explorers of the past, for the Ptolemys and the Archimedes', the Alexanders and the Teslas and the Platos and the Tolstoys, the Hypatias and Cleopatras and Wollstonecrafts; the list is endless.

A few years ago, I joined my grandmother at the shop. Several twists and turns in life led me back to a place where I spent much of my childhood, a place that, to me, was always filled with a special kind of magic. It has always felt so intimate to me to make my way through a collection of things, any things. I can still vividly remember the cavernous marble bathrooms at my great-aunt's house, filled with fancy little shell-shaped soaps and mini-perfume bottles, tiny delicate replicas of the real thing. I would pick each one up, running my fingers over carved surfaces, inhaling the many different smells. There's a silence that accompanies these little explorations, a quietness in the space around you as everything else disappears and you get lost in the objects and their stories, the quiet sounds they make.

It's that same curiosity, that urge to discover something new, that has kept Anni Z alive all these years, passing down from one generation to another. We may not know where we're going but at least we know from where we come.

We hope this blog will one day grow into something as enduring as the shop has been, and more than that, we hope it gives people the same sense of wonder and amazement all our research and exploring have given us over the years. The world is filled with beauty, one need only look a little closer...

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