‘The most prominent Dutchman in Egypt’

Jan Herman Insinger and the Egyptian collection in Leiden

Maarten J. Raven | 2018

‘The most prominent Dutchman in Egypt’

Jan Herman Insinger and the Egyptian collection in Leiden

Maarten J. Raven | 2018


Paperback ISBN: 9789088905513 | Hardback ISBN: 9789088905520 | Imprint: Sidestone Press | Format: 210x280mm | 94 pp. | Papers on Archaeology of the Leiden Museum of Antiquities 19 | Series: PALMA | Language: English | 17 illus. (bw) | 56 illus. (fc) | Keywords: Insinger; biography; Ancient Egypt; Egyptian Archaeology; antiquities; Leiden Museum of Antiquities | download cover

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Jan Herman Insinger was a well-known character in the history of Egyptology, mainly because his name has been linked forever with a famous demotic wisdom papyrus now in Leiden. Although he is mentioned by many of his contemporaries, biographical notes on Insinger rarely surpass a few lines and can be quite inaccurate. However, a lot of information can be gathered from the Archives of the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden and other sources, both published and unpublished ones. These documents enable us to sketch a brief biography of this fascinating figure.

Former studies by the present author dealt with Insinger’s activities as a photographer and a traveller. The present volume focuses on Insinger’s activities as an art collector. Insinger can be regarded as a maecenas of the Leiden Museum. Thus, a study of this aspect of his manifold interests is mainly relevant for the information it provides on the growth of the Egyptian treasures in Leiden.

I Concise biography of Jan Herman Insinger
1 Banker’s son (1856-1879)
2 Nile traveller (1879-1883)
3 True friend (1883-1888)
4 Land-owner in Luxor (1888-1903)
5 Grumpy old man (1903-1918)

II Jan Herman Insinger as a purveyor of antiquities for the RMO
1 Exploits with Schelling (1882)
2 Manuscripts and mummies (1886)
3 Ostraca and textiles (1888)
4 Purchase of a papyrus (1895)
5 Potsherds and prehistory (1897-1901)
6 Donations by descendants (1929-1957)

III Jan Herman Insinger and the antiquities trade of his time
1 Dealer or donator?
2 Abiding by the law
3 Missed opportunities
4 Conclusions

Appendix I. List of acquisitions from Insinger
Appendix II. Translations of letters written by Insinger
Abbreviations
Bibliography
Indices

Prof. dr. Maarten J. Raven

Maarten J. Raven worked as Curator of the Egyptian Department of the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (National Museum of Antiquities) at Leiden, The Netherlands, from 1978 to 2018, and is now honorary research associate of that institution. In this capacity he organized numerous exhibitions, especially on the Leiden papyrus collection, mummy research, Dutch excavations in Egypt, and Egyptian magic. He was also responsible for the new display of the Egyptian collection (2016). He wrote numerous books and articles on egyptological subjects, and was also active as tour conductor and lecturer. His special interests include the history of egyptology, egyptomania, and ancient Egyptian technology and symbolism. From 2012 to 2018, he was extraordinary professor for the museology of Ancient Egypt at Leiden State University.

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Abstract:

Jan Herman Insinger was a well-known character in the history of Egyptology, mainly because his name has been linked forever with a famous demotic wisdom papyrus now in Leiden. Although he is mentioned by many of his contemporaries, biographical notes on Insinger rarely surpass a few lines and can be quite inaccurate. However, a lot of information can be gathered from the Archives of the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden and other sources, both published and unpublished ones. These documents enable us to sketch a brief biography of this fascinating figure.

Former studies by the present author dealt with Insinger’s activities as a photographer and a traveller. The present volume focuses on Insinger’s activities as an art collector. Insinger can be regarded as a maecenas of the Leiden Museum. Thus, a study of this aspect of his manifold interests is mainly relevant for the information it provides on the growth of the Egyptian treasures in Leiden.

Contents

I Concise biography of Jan Herman Insinger
1 Banker’s son (1856-1879)
2 Nile traveller (1879-1883)
3 True friend (1883-1888)
4 Land-owner in Luxor (1888-1903)
5 Grumpy old man (1903-1918)

II Jan Herman Insinger as a purveyor of antiquities for the RMO
1 Exploits with Schelling (1882)
2 Manuscripts and mummies (1886)
3 Ostraca and textiles (1888)
4 Purchase of a papyrus (1895)
5 Potsherds and prehistory (1897-1901)
6 Donations by descendants (1929-1957)

III Jan Herman Insinger and the antiquities trade of his time
1 Dealer or donator?
2 Abiding by the law
3 Missed opportunities
4 Conclusions

Appendix I. List of acquisitions from Insinger
Appendix II. Translations of letters written by Insinger
Abbreviations
Bibliography
Indices

Prof. dr. Maarten J. Raven

Maarten J. Raven worked as Curator of the Egyptian Department of the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (National Museum of Antiquities) at Leiden, The Netherlands, from 1978 to 2018, and is now honorary research associate of that institution. In this capacity he organized numerous exhibitions, especially on the Leiden papyrus collection, mummy research, Dutch excavations in Egypt, and Egyptian magic. He was also responsible for the new display of the Egyptian collection (2016). He wrote numerous books and articles on egyptological subjects, and was also active as tour conductor and lecturer. His special interests include the history of egyptology, egyptomania, and ancient Egyptian technology and symbolism. From 2012 to 2018, he was extraordinary professor for the museology of Ancient Egypt at Leiden State University.

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