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Ignoramus ! Ignorabimus ?

height: 3ft. 3ins. x width: 5ft. 9ins.


The Latin maxim ignoramus et ignorabimus, meaning we do not know and will

not know, represents the idea that scientific knowledge is limited. It was popularized

by Emil du Bois-Reymond, (1818-96) a German physician and physiologist, in his

keynote address Uber die Grenzen des Naturerkennens (On The Limits of our

understanding of nature/sciene), to the 1872 Congress of German Scientists and


The present tapestry, a rare weaving from Berlin, Germany, depicts him in his study,

in a deep contemplative mood, covering the face of a deceased woman with the

inscription: ignoramus ! ignorabimus ? aptly describing his predicament.