World Collection: War and Hunting
The World collection at Reading Museum contains many objects used in both warfare and hunting. It is not always possible to tell which of these was the main purpose of a particular weapon, and some may not have been intended for use at all. For example there are swords which were used for ceremonial purposes instead of fighting, and these items were of great social value. Some of the more practical weapons are still very dangerous to handle, such as arrows with poisoned tips.
War has also influenced the type of objects that have arrived in the Museum - in particular, which countries are most represented in the collection. The British Empire’s battles of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries resulted in collectors returning with items connected to wars in Burma, Nepal and southern Africa. They may have been taken as trophies after a battle, or acquired by someone in the forces who had become interested in the culture of the place they were working in.