The ball is round
Circle, Sphere, Cosmos

08.06.2006 to 27.08.2006


An exhibition of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Kindly supported by the Würth Group.

On the occasion of the 2006 Football World Cup, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin) are presenting an exhibition with over 250 objects on two of the oldest and most pivotal symbols of the culture of mankind: circle and sphere. Art treasures from the most diverse periods and cultures meet with natural science objects, forming five major topical sections.

The focus of the first section, "Creation and Cognition", is the fascination for circle and sphere as the perfect shape. These fundamental geometrical figures are considered to be emblems of the divine. At the same time, they represent the world, where the round appears over and again in both nature and civilisation. The section "Cosmos" shows that, in nearly every epoch and culture, circle and sphere played an essential role in the ways that the cosmos is envisaged. Ancient zodiacs, clock faces, Aztec disc calendars, as well as the Buddhist Kalachakra illustrate how the human sense of time, the "Cycle of Time", is visualized in circular and spherical shape. The forth section focuses on "Game and Chance": from the yoyo-playing boy in antiquity and Medieval representations of wheels of life and fortune to contemporary lottery games. As "Emblems of Power", symbols such as the orb in European culture and the Egyptian sun disc are manifestations of one of the most momentous dreams of mankind: the rule over time, space and fortuity.