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Pioneer of Egyptology
Carl Richard Lepsius. 1810-1884

03.12.2010 to 10.04.2011

Neues Museum
Neues Museum

The 200th anniversary of Carl Richard Lepsius's birth on 23 December 2010 is good cause for the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection to pay tribute to this important figure in Egyptology by holding a temporary exhibition built into the permanent show currently on display.

Born in 1810 and raised in Naumburg, Lepsius first studied philology and comparative linguistics, before quickly dedicating himself to the study of the Egyptian language, the secrets of which had only been revealed a few years earlier, in 1822, thanks to its decipherment by Jean-François Champollion. Not only did Lepsius, a philological genius, make theoretical advances in the study of the writing system, in his role as head of the Prussian expedition dispatched by King Frederick William IV in 1842 to 1845, he also explored Egypt and Nubia at first hand.

The 1500 objects brought back from this journey were meant to supplement the ancient Egyptian artefacts already in Berlin and go towards filling part of the exhibition rooms of the Neues Museum, still under construction at the time. As a visual backdrop to this exhibition, Lepsius designed an impressive picture scheme for the walls and ceiling that is still preserved in part today. With today's exhibition, the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection pays homage to Lepsius as a universal scholar, expedition leader and museum designer and invites visitors to embark on a journey through the diverse world of Egyptology by retracing the steps of one of its pioneers.