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Friederike Voigt

Friederike Voigt
Principal Curator, West, South and Southeast Asian collections
Responsibility: Head of the Asia Section. Curation and development of the collections from West, South and Southeast Asia.
Research interests: Collecting histories and practices, West and South Asian arts and crafts, Iranian material culture, Scottish Orientalism.
E: f.voigt@nms.ac.uk

Friederike Voigt is Principal Curator with responsibility for the West, South and Southeast Asia collections and Head of Asia Section.

She is fascinated by the human aspects encapsulated in museum collections.

Her research and acquisitions for the museum are driven by questions about the technical skills and material knowledge of makers and artists. She uses artefacts from the collections in her responsibility to make visible what is difficult to observe: values, perceptions, attitudes and beliefs of the cultures from which they originate.

A specialist in Iranian material culture, her examination of 19th-century figurative tilework preserved in European museums has allowed her to demonstrate the role of architectural imagery in the shaping of Iranian national identity during the Qajar period.

With a particular focus on Scotland, she interrogates the multitude of perspectives of individuals involved in the British empire in India and the impact of Edinburgh’s learned institutions on the collecting and interpretation of imperial objects in the 18th to early 20th centuries. The results of her research have informed special exhibitions, displays in permanent galleries and co-curation projects at National Museums Scotland. 

She is keen to share her knowledge about the collections and to learn more from different perspectives on them by making them accessible as a source for creative inspiration, public engagement and cross-disciplinary academic research. Her collaborations with artists and community groups have helped to reinterpret and grow the collections. 

Selected publications

Voigt, F. In Press “Skilled work and the division of labour in Bihar: Margaret Tytler’s models of the arts and manufactures of Hindustan, 1815-21”, in Jeffery, R. (ed.), Edinburgh’s Indian Heritage, Delhi and London: Social Science Press and Routledge.

Voigt, F. 2021 “Equestrian Tiles and the Rediscovery of Underglaze Painting in Qajar Iran”, in G. Fellinger (ed.) Revealing the Unseen: New Perspectives on Qajar Art, London: Gingko Publishing, 150-61.

Voigt, F. 2021 “For close observation: Tilework imagery in the architecture of Qajar Iran”, in S. Salgirli (ed.) Inside-outside in Islamic art and architecture, London, New York: Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 99-127.

Voigt, F. 2021 “’A place where eternally blossoming roses grow’: The garden in Iranian textiles”, Journal of the Oriental Rug and Textile Society, 4 (2), Summer, 4-9.

Voigt, F. 2020 „Wandkachel. Historie“, in T. Brüderlein, S. Schien, S. Stoll (eds) Ausgepackt! 125 Jahre Geschichte(n) im Museum Natur und Mensch, Petersberg: Michael Imhof Verlag und Städtische Museen Freiburg, 40-1.

Voigt, F. 2020 “Mementoes of power and conquest: Sikh jewellery in the collection of National Museums Scotland”, in H. Lidchi and S. Allan (eds) Dividing the spoils: perspectives on military collections and the British empire, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 247-68.

Voigt, F. 2019 “Orientalist collecting of Indian sculpture”, in R. Jeffery (ed.) India in Edinburgh: 1750s to the Present, New Delhi: Social Science Press, 47-72.

Voigt, F., Nicolson, R. and Bennison, L. 2017 “Panjab connections: a Young Roots heritage project at National Museums Scotland”, Journal of Museum Ethnography, 30, 24-48.

Voigt, F. and Adams, V. 2014 “‘One long adventure’: Collecting Scottish-Yemeni history”, in P. Erskine (ed.) Museums and the material world: Collecting the Arabian Peninsula, Edinburgh: MuseumsEtc Ltd, 222-57.

Reiche, I. and Voigt, F. 2012 “The master potter Ali Muhammad Isfahani: Insights into the production of decorative underglaze painted tiles in 19th century Iran”, in E. Howell and P. Vandenabeele (eds) Analytical Archaeometry: Selected Topics, Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry, 502-31.

For further publications see the National Museums Scotland Research Repository.

Alternate Text

Archibald Swinton Collection of 18th Century Paintings and Lacquer Work Saved for the Nation

A truly exceptional collection of 18th century Mughal paintings and lacquer work has been acquired for the Nation and allocated to National Museums Scotland under the Acceptance in Lieu scheme.

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Alternate Text

Stories in stone: the lost history of Indian sculpted deities

Friederike Voigt explains how research carried out 200 years ago has helped her piece together the lost history of sculpted deities brought to Scotland from India.

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