10 most mysterious museum pieces in the world

Today, everyone has the opportunity to look at historical sites – just go to the museum, which is in almost every major city. They store thousands of different exhibits, which are carefully studied by experts. Thanks to their work, we know exactly when this or that historical object was created and what it was used for. However, many museums also store mysterious objects, the purpose of which scientists can only guess. We are talking about a variety of statues, paintings and figures, looking at which scientists just shrug their shoulders – they just do not know what it is, that’s all. Recently, representatives of the Yorkshire Museum (England) called on museum curators to talk about the most mysterious objects that they have. It turned out that they have quite a lot of figures and paintings with an unknown purpose.

Mysterious beast

For example, in the Yorkshire Museum itself, there is a gold figure of the 9th century in the form of a fictional beast. He has two horns, blue eyes and a protruding tongue. Scientists suggest that some substances were poured into two horns, and the tongue was used to hang an object on the wall or neck of a person. But what exactly was stored in this vessel and why it had to be suspended is not clear to anyone. Most likely, the item was used for rituals. Maybe this is a detail of some ancient mechanism and scientists have yet to assemble this constructor. In general, the museum staff is not bored – they need to study history and make sensational discoveries.


Portrait of man

And in the New York Art Gallery, another mysterious object is stored – a painting entitled “Portrait of an Unknown Elderly Man with a Mustache.” When a person’s face is painted on a canvas, he must sit for several hours and cannot even move. The painted man with a mustache was clearly numb in the fifth point and had extraordinary patience. But for what? So that his name is not even indicated on the portrait? A very strange situation emerges and scientists have no idea why the portrait was drawn. Maybe this man was a friend of the artist and helped him hone his skills? It is possible, but not certain.

Unknown Portrait

A board game figurine?

In England, there is the York Castle Museum and it is also full of objects with a mysterious history. As you know, many archaeological finds are eventually sent to museums. So, in 1938, a man brought them a 20-sided piece of wood. One would assume that he made it himself, but no – the item was made approximately between 1840-1880. But what was this faceted piece of wood for? The only suggestion that comes to mind is that this figure is from an ancient board game. But scientists do not have an exact answer to the question.

Board game figure

Battle stones

Approximately the same object is in the collection of the British Ashmolean Museum. The stone balls shown in the photo below were made during the Neolithic or early Bronze Age – 4000-1400 BC. The museum curators have several assumptions about the purpose of these figurines. First, they can be ritual tools for prediction. Secondly, these stones could have been used by ancient people as weapons. And the third version says that these are the first attempts of ancient people to create an abstract work of art.

Battle stones

Mysterious device

The object, which was in the hands of the curators of the Whipple British Museum of the History of Science, is clearly some kind of invention by an unknown engineer. It is a box of mahogany and brass. The design is equipped with a mirror, which is rotated using a special handle. The device has a place to install an additional mirror. It looks interesting, but scientists don’t understand anything. But the object appeared with them quite a long time ago. It is hoped that this is not a magical device that can solve all the problems of mankind. It would be a shame to have such a thing at hand and not be able to use it.

Ancient camera

Intimidating motivator

Employees of the Oxfordshire Museum, which is also located in England, once found a wooden thing with thorns in a field. Employees laugh that their boss is holding this thing in the corner of his desk and calls it “motivator”. But what it is, again, nobody knows. In fact, it looks like the striking part of a mace – a cold weapon that was used by our ancestors from ancient times. Interestingly, the museum staff considered this option?


Dental instrument

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Glasgow (Scotland) also has its own museum. They believe that the most mysterious item in their collection is a tool that could have been used by ancient dentists. But, you know, this is something more like an instrument of torture. So the picture emerges, where this tool closely squeezes the parts of the body of the guilty person. College staff are humorous about this subject and call it a “pizza knife.” And what really looks like!

Dental tool

Small coffins

The National Museums of Scotland houses miniature coffins, which were discovered in 1836 on the Scottish Mount Arthurs Seat. Inside each coffin, there is a figure of a person, for each of whom the clothes ideally suited to their shape were sewn. Who created these creepy figures and why it is not clear to anyone. Perhaps this is some kind of souvenir, but the theory of ritual purpose is more believable.

Small coffins

Spooky exhibit

The history of the National Leather Collection (England) may well become the basis for a horror film. Once a tin can with fragments of the skin of some animal and a photograph of a child fell into the hands of the museum staff. It is believed that a headdress in the form of the ancient Egyptian goddess Mut was once made from this skin. But exactly how the hat looked and because of what it crumbled into small particles is a big mystery. There is an assumption that the artifact was taken from the tomb of Tutankhamun. But where did the photo of the child come from, and who is it?

Spooky exhibit

Magic wand

Finally, it is worth talking about the unusual exhibit of the Norwich Castle Museum, which is also located in the UK. They have a stick with heads at the end. Researchers have been unable to understand what it is for several years in a row. Some kind of very nice spool of thread? A magic wand, or a toilet paper holder in general? Probably, the answer to this question will never be found.

Magic wand

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Author: Julia Harris
Graduated from Stanford University. Previously, he worked in various free news media. Currently, it is a columnist of the economy section in the Free News editors.
Function: Reporter
Julia Harris

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