goldenes Reißzeug zum Messen
© SKD, Foto: Peter Müller

Princely map-making = delineating the contours of power. The Drafting Chamber of Elector August, Center of Geodesy and Cartography

To measure accurately means to locate power – even elector August knew this formula. Already in 1587 the Kunstkammer, which had been founded 27 years before, contained approximately 1.000 mathematic and technical instruments as well as numerous cartographic drafts and maps of Saxony, which were executed by August. In the Drafting Chamber, which was the center of the Kunstkammer in the Royal Palace in Dresden, tools and scientific instruments were stored to be used by the elector. They not only were state-of-the-art, but also fulfilled the representational demands of an electoral collection.

  • DATES 23/09/2010—23/01/2011


Based on the splendid evidences of cartography, the exhibition tells the visitor about the connection between the establishment of power and the real geographical location of the claim of power - measuring land, also meant claiming land. Taking the collection of elector August as an example, this becomes obvious.

goldener Wegmesser
© SKD, Foto: Peter Müller
Chr. Schissler (?), Wegmesser, 2. Hälfte 16. Jh. Höhe: 15 cm, Breite: 15 cm, Tiefe: 10 cm


Among the approximately 80 objects are an unknown study edition of the magnificent edition of the forest drawing books of elector August, the treatise on methods of cartography, which might have been written by elector August himself, and a recently discovered sketch of a carriage measuring tool by the Schwerin based instrument maker Jachenow. Moreover, a 1611 dress made of atlas and coloured silk and covered with gold and silver embroidery is shown, depicting a landscape with Saxon “hunting, navigation, farming, people and animals”. Against the background of elector August’s cartography, it shines in new light.


The geodesic instruments from the holdings of the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon and the maps from the Saxon Main State Archive, which were used by elector August and were stored in the Drafting Chamber of the Kunstkammer, are complemented by loans from the Rüstkammer, the Sächsische Landesbibliothek – Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden (SLUB) and the Grassi Museum Leipzig.

Wagenwegmesser aus Gold
© SKD, Foto: Jürgen Karpinski
Christoph Trechsler d. Ä., Wagenwegmesser, Dresden, 1584 Messing, feuervergoldet, Eisen, Höhe: 42 cm


Die Publikation zur Sonderausstellung

Genau Messen = Herrschaft Verorten

Das Reißgemach von Kurfürst August, ein Zentrum der Geodäsie und Kartographie (19,90 €, ISBN 978-3-422-07049-3)


with kind support: BDVI; BDVI Sachsen; Geokart

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