15.01.2010 to 24.05.2010
In May 1910 the first German chair for the 'Languages and History of East Asia’ was founded at the Hamburg Colonial Institute, a post that was taken up by the sinologist Otto Franke (1863-1946) on 1 January 1910 in a move which marked the inception of institutional Sino studies in German.
The exhibition celebrates the life and work of the nestor of German sinology, Otto Franke - one of the first generation of German sinologists who knew China from first hand. Before working as a professor in Hamburg (1910-1923) and Berlin (1923-1931), Franke served for thirteen years as an interpretor for the Foreign Office at the German embassy in Peking as well as at their consulates in Tianjin, Shanghai and Amoy, before spending six further years as legate at the Chinese embassy in Berlin. In the first part of the exhibition, Franke’s life is traced through numerous documents and objects taken primarily from his family’s estate. His estate included several photo albums and diaries recording his travels through East Asia, a selection of which are on show in the second part of the exhibition. In the third part of the exhibition a selection of Chinese paintings are presented to the public, which Franke described as 'cultural pictures,’ that present diverse aspects of Chinese everyday culture and are each accompanied by explanatory texts, translated by Franke himself, and which are on show for the first time as part of this exhibition.