Please note the changed opening hours of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin since 16 April 2024. More


Corinthium Aes
The Mystery of Black Copper

06.04.2023 to 27.08.2023
Neues Museum

The showcase exhibition organised by the Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung is devoted to the mysterious material known as Corinthium aes – “Corinthian bronze”. Knowledge of the material’s intricate manufacturing process was long believed to be lost, until a goldsmith from Nuremberg undertook to recreate it. Now, modern and ancient Egyptian artefacts enter into dialogue in the Neues Museum.

Corinthium aes is a special copper alloy that is enriched with gold, silver, or arsenic. After undergoing an elaborate treatment with copper salt solutions, the material develops a deep purple to near-black patina. What is remarkable about this patina is that it is able to regenerate on its own via contact with skin perspiration if it is damaged or scratched. Even in antiquity, people were intrigued by this special qualities, with philosophers like Herodotus, Pliny, and Plutarch writing with great enthusiasm about the beauty of the precious “Corinthian ore”. The substance was also already known about in Ancient Egypt in the third millennium BC, where it was referred to as “black copper”.

Throughout the course of human history, knowledge pertaining to its composition and the methods of its production devolved into arcane knowledge, before ultimately being all but entirely lost. However, thanks to research conducted into the sources of ancient artefacts and the precise identification of the materials used to make them, goldsmith Matthias Lehr and archaeologist Alessandra Giumlia-Mair have managed to successfully recreate the method used to make this alloy. Now, modern and ancient Egyptian artefacts are able to enter into dialogue in this exhibition.


Corinthium Aes: The Mystery of Black Copper is curated by Olivia Zorn, deputy director, and Rebekka Pabst, research associate in advanced training, both of the Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung.

Exhibition Catalogue

A catalogue (paperback, 76 pages, 62 coloured reproductions, German) has been published to accompany the exhibition.

A special exhibition of the Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

James-Simon-Galerie, Bodestraße
10178 Berlin

wheelchair accessible
Information and floor plans for the Neues Museum (PDF, 323 KB)

All groups meet at the information desk in the lower foyer in James-Simon-Galerie.

Advise for group visits to the Neues Museum and Pergamonmuseum (PDF)

U-Bahn: Museumsinsel (U5)
S-Bahn: Friedrichstraße, Hackescher Markt
Tram: Am Kupfergraben, Hackescher Markt
Bus: Staatsoper, Lustgarten, Friedrichstraße

Low-carbon public transport connections
Local traffic
Long distance

Sun 10:00 - 18:00
Mon closed
Tue 10:00 - 18:00
Wed 10:00 - 18:00
Thu 10:00 - 18:00
Fri 10:00 - 18:00
Sat 10:00 - 18:00

Opening times on public holidays Opening Hours
Extended opening hours 4 July – 1 September: Tue – Sat 9 am – 8 pm, Sun 9 am – 6 pm.

Neues Museum + Archaeological Treasures of Uzbekistan
14,00 EUR Concessions 7,00

Museum Island + Panorama
24,00 EUR Concessions 12,00
Buy ticket

Annual Ticket from 25,00 EUR
Buy ticket

Museum Pass Berlin 3 days for permanent exhibitions
32,00 EUR Concessions 16,00
3 days for permanent exhibitions
Buy ticket

Annual membership Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

from just 25,00 EUR

Annual Passes for the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Tel 030 - 266 42 42 42 (Mon - Fri, 9 am - 4 pm)
Questions | Bookings | Feedback

Related Links

Exhibition catalogue (German)