When we think of language and writing, jewellery is not the first thing that comes to mind. However, jewellery is a precious manifestation of many and varied systems of signs and symbols – as precious as the message itself. Jewellery serves as a means of communication, and hence is quite literally a 'carrier of meaning'. It has been playing an important role across different epochs and cultures as one of the many ways to express ourselves. Not least due to its high symbolic value, it is also a precious gift, for example for the birth of a child or on a wedding day. Quite often, jewellery accompanies its owner to their grave and thus even after death.
For the duration of the »Elegantly Meaningful« show marking the 500th anniversary of the death of Johannes Reuchlin (1455–1522), all of the Jewellery Museum’s exhibition rooms are themed around jewellery, writing and language.
The focus in the museum’s special exhibitions area is on Reuchlin’s appreciation of languages, foreign cultures and, concomitantly, of tolerance and mutual understanding. The exhibits cover the entire gamut from richly illuminated manuscripts and exquisite prints created by Reuchlin’s contemporaries to 20th-century calligraphy from the collection of the Academy of Arts in Berlin and sculptural works crafted by the fischerartwork artist couple.
In addition, the topic of »language and writing in jewellery« runs like a leitmotif throughout the rooms of the permanent exhibition, where all the pieces containing linguistic elements, created in different epochs, are spotlighted. Nubian silver jewellery from the Sibylle and Wolfgang Mayer collection, characterised by multifaceted ornamental motifs and symbols, is displayed in the Gallery Adjoining the Courtyard.
Video installations in several rooms show texts from various eras of human history, and visitors can watch the robot in the »bios [Bible]« installation, developed by robotlab, while it is copying a Bible manuscript in »handwriting«.
In a related exhibition, entitled »Cipher – the Secret Language of Jewellery«, students from the Design, Jewellery and Utensils vocational college programme at Pforzheim’s Goldsmithing School are showcasing their creations at the Schütt – Schmuck & Edelsteine jewellers across from the Reuchlinhaus.