Saudi treasures go to Pittsburgh



JEDDAH: P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR

Published — Friday 21 June 2013

Last update 21 June 2013 6:19 am

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The prestigious Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh will be hosting a special collection of 227 archaeological “masterpieces” from Saudi Arabia for three months.
The “Roads of Arabia” exhibition will be opened in the city today by Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett.
Saudi Ambassador to Washington Adel Al-Jubeir, Arab diplomats and a number of Saudi and American officials, academics and archeologists will attend the opening ceremony.
The exhibition is entitled “Saudi Archaeological Masterpieces through the Ages.”
The relics are from the Paleolithic Age (one million BC) until the establishment of the Saudi state. Five other US museums will host the exhibition over the next two years.
It focuses on the influence of ancient trade routes that crossed the Arabian Peninsula and allowed for trade and cultural exchange between different civilizations. It also features a range of recently discovered relics from these routes including glass dishes, alabaster bowls, bronze statues, pottery and heavy gold earrings.
The exhibits were already displayed at the Smithsonian Sackler Museum in Washington, where the exhibition had its first US show after visiting four European cities. It will visit three more American cities — Houston, Chicago and Boston.
In a statement after opening the show at the Smithsonian Sackler Museum last year, Prince Sultan said it would highlight the Kingdom’s cultural and historical significance. “This is a new window to see a country that has never been thought of or seen in the arena of heritage, civilization and culture,” he said.
The collection includes artifacts taken from the National Museum in Riyadh, King Saud University Museum, King Fahd National Library, King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, King Abdul Aziz Library in Madinah, in addition to a number of antiquities found in the latest archaeological excavations.
During its European tour, the show drew more than 1.5 million visitors. The Louvre in France was the first leg of the exhibition in Europe. It then moved to Spain where it was hosted by La Caixa Foundation in Barcelona before being hosted by the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia and the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Germany.

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