Location  Amricani Cultural Centre
Time Monday – Thursday and Saturday 10 AM – 7PM Fridays 2 PM – 7PM


The Ancient Near East encompassing modern-day Turkey, Iran, Iraq, the whole of the Arabian Peninsula, and the Levant, is an enormous area that was connected by an extraordinary degree of contact. Other areas further east were also of great importance in the three millennia before Islam, particularly the Bronze Age civilizations of the Indus Valley in modern-day India and Pakistan, and the culture in Central Asia referred to as Bactria-Margiana in what is now eastern Turkmenistan, western Uzbekistan and northern Afghanistan. In the first millennium BCE most of these areas continued to flourish as dynasties rose and fell, and waves of Central Asian nomads brought their own cultural contribution to the arts of the region. These cross- cultural influences are apparent in many of the objects presented here.

Splendors of the Ancient East: Antiquities from The al-Sabah Collection presents a selection of artefacts from this wide region from the end of the fourth millennium BCE to the seventh century CE. It includes some important bronzes ranging from Early Dynastic Mesopotamian offering stands, to South Arabian figural sculptures, to a large figure of a Sasanian lady. Many beautiful silver vessels are included, such as a beaker formerly owned by the Assyrian king Esarhaddon and later by a provincial Elamite king; some zoomorphic pouring vessels probably made in the late 7th century or early 6th century BCE in western Iran; and exquisite examples of Hellenistic silver ware, many with Dionysian imagery. Jewellery is a particularly important component of the Collection, and is represented here by a Bronze Age gold scorpion necklace set with hardstones; earrings and appliqués made of gold and set with hardstones from eastern Iran and Central Asia dating from the Hellenistic period and later; and Hellenistic-period intaglios and cameos.

This is a rich collection of material for the most part previously unpublished, and displayed for the first time in the exhibition that will run in Kuwait from April 2013. The catalogue essays, written by five eminent scholars in the field, provide an introduction to this wide geographical and historical area, much of which is little known and understood outside of the specialist realm.

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