The exhibition focuses on the history of Chinese writing and language in Germany. It begins with the first attempts that German scholars made to acquire Chinese texts under the Great Elector, Friedrich Wilhelm von Brandenburg. It continues with Leibniz’ and Wilhelm von Humboldt’s view of Chinese in the 18th and 19th centuries and describes the establishment of the first Chair of Modern Chinese in the Department of Oriental Languages at the University of Berlin in 1887. During the 20th century, the professionalization of Chinese as a discipline was continued, and increasingly more universities set up professorships devoted to Chinese. The number of students increased at great speed, and since the end of the 1990s, Chinese has increasingly been added to standard secondary school curricula.
The exhibition design and texts are by Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Mechthild Leutner, professor emerita at the Institute of Sinology, Freie Universität Berlin and director of the Confucius Institute at Freie Universität Berlin, and Dagmar Yu-Dembski, Managing Director of the Confucus Institute at Freie Universität. They will officially open the exhibition together.