In Pomian’s work, he makes it clear that collections facilitate some sort of connection between the visible and the invisible. The collection itself is the visible, which is somehow opposing the invisible, which is usually the meaning that the collection has to the observer. He argues that language is what draws a link between the two, as it allows the meaning(invisible) of the collection(visible) to be articulated and therefore made tangible and real. Pomian illustrates that the invisible is just as important as the visible, and sometimes can even carry more weight, as it is often the invisible that makes the visible important.
According to Eco, the Wunderkammer is a “wonder cabinet,” or a “cabinet of curiosities,” which was essentially just a collection of items. It was the precursor to museums, as often it had items on display that had no real utility but yet had value. Wunderkammers came in many forms: shelves, cupboards, etc. They usually served to either hold “all the things that ought to be known of,” or items that were deemed special or unusual. Through the extensive collections that wunderkammers usually held, they were often meant to encapsulate everything that was known. This illustrates Eco’s idea of wunderkammers symbolizing “the dream of total scientific knowledge.”
In Eco’s work, he places a much higher importance on what Wunderkammers/collections contained. Pomian, on the other hand, emphasizes what they represent. Eco even goes so far is to list out objects that a Wunderkammer might contain, and depicts its physical appearance as well. Pomian doesn’t include either of these descriptions, and instead goes into depth on the purpose and meaning of collections, and how their significance was not limited to only what one could see. He doesn’t really give examples of what objects might be in a collection, but does explore what makes an object worthy of being in a collection, and what gives a collection the definition of collection. Considering these different descriptions of the same thing, how would regular people of the time define a collection?