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can be gathered from the Archives of the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden and other sources, both published and unpublished ones.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
Appendix I. List of acquisitions from Insinger
Appendix II. Translations of letters written by Insinger