Archaeological Treasures of Saudi Arabia,
Louvre Abu Dhabi
Until February 16th 2019
This extraordinary exhibition at the Louvre Abu Dhabi has been possible thanks to the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, in partnership with the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH). The show was conceived through cooperation between SCTH and the Musée du Louvre in Paris, where it was first exhibited in 2010.
The exhibition explores five chapters in the history of the Arabian Peninsula, spanning early prehistoric settlements; maritime exploration; caravan trading routes that linked the region with Asia, Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean; routes of holy pilgrimage emerging in the 7th century; and the social and economic developments between the 14th and 16th centuries, that set the stage for the modern day region.
The rich history of the Arabian Peninsula is brought to life through archaeological and cultural artefacts, including a selection of rare pieces from the UAE, such as a pearl found in Umm Al Quwain dating from 5500-5300BC (loaned by Umm Al Quwain Museum), and a stone decorated with a wild camel from the late 3rd millennium BC (loaned by Al Ain Museum), among many other exceptional pieces.
These treasures are displayed alongside significant artefacts from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, including outstanding funerary Neolithic stela, a 3rd century BC bronze statue head (loaned by the Department of Archaeology at King Saud University); a 1st century BC gold funerary mask from Eastern Province (loaned by the National Museum in Riyadh), 9th century engraved steles (loaned by King Fahad National Library); 4th millennium BC Anthropomorphic stele (loaned by the National Museum in Riyadh); a door of the Kaaba dating to 1355 (loaned by the National Museum in Riyadh), and a key of the Kaaba (loaned by the Department of Islamic Art at the Musée du Louvre).
Alongside the exhibition opening, Louvre Abu Dhabi is organising a three-day celebration featuring a performance called “On the Roads of Arabia” – a creation from music, dances and poetry by eighty artists from the Arabian Peninsula, Africa, Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, India, Indonesia and China with a contemporary, calligraphic street art drawing designed by Tunisian artist Koom. The cultural program accompanying Roads of Arabia: Archaeological Treasures of Saudi Arabia will also feature film screenings selected by Hind Mezaina, curatorial talks, as well as a range of education workshops and guided tours related to the exhibition.