Cabinets of wonder were part of a European tradition of collecting practiced by aristocrats and other wealthy individuals from the 16th to the 18th century. These exhibition spaces held encyclopedic displays of strange, disturbing, surprising and exotic objects, which attested to the wealth and power of their owners. The first cabinets of wonder were created prior to the establishment of clearcut distinctions between science, philosophy, and art. This historical period was also marked by the first expeditions to the New World, and by the beginning of colonial trade relations between Europe and distant lands. Cabinets of Wonder were thus a quintessential product of their era: an expression of the human thirst for knowledge.