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Hidden within Copenhagen’s Glyptotek art museum is a curious cabinet filled with 100 plaster noses. Visitors who find it stare in wonder as a single body part has been arranged so meticulously that it would appear to be its own work of art. Rather, the noses come from some of the Glyptotek’s ancient Greek and Roman sculptures whose white marble noses were replaced by conservators after their originals fell off.
According to Atlas Obscura, “Particularly in the 19th century, it had become a common practice among conservators to apply a facsimiles of the broken element, so as to re-complete what had been lost.”
The practice has become less common, not to mention frowned upon, and the Glyptotek has since removed the replacement extremities in favor of restoring authenticity.
Once the noses were removed, the museum needed to decide what to do with them. Instead of throwing them out or tucking them away and pretending they didn’t happen, they created the Nasothek, “which takes its name from the Latin for ‘nose’ and Greek for ‘container.'”