Terracotta warriors star of ‘Treasures of China’ show in Riyadh

The Saudi national antiquities sector is not new and we are building on what officials and citizens have built before us, said the tourism chief. (SPA)
Updated 14 September 2018

Terracotta warriors star of ‘Treasures of China’ show in Riyadh

  • A rare display of famous artifacts has opened at the National Museum in Riyadh
  • The exhibition include 264 items provided by 13 museums and cultural institutions in China

RIYADH: The “Treasures of China” exhibition, featuring collections of the most famous artifacts in Chinese civilization, including the terracotta warriors, has opened at the National Museum in Riyadh.

The display, from Sept.13 to Nov. 23, is part of a rare and priceless collection of historical Chinese artifacts marking the largest cultural relics exhibition hosted by China in the Kingdom.

It includes 264 items provided by 13 museums and cultural institutions such as the Palace Museum, of which 173 are Chinese cultural relics. They include the terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China.

The exhibition is organized under the patronage of Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), and as part of an agreement signed between the Kingdom, represented by the SCTH, and the People’s Republic of China, represented by the State Administration of the Cultural Heritage (SACH), which includes cooperation in archaeological research, exhibitions and museum activities.

Opening the exhibition on Wednesday night, Prince Sultan said: “The exhibition is an important step in the special relations between the two friendly countries.

“Due to its experience and extended relations with the best international universities and research centers, the Kingdom became one of the leading countries in the fields of archaeological discoveries, scientific research and the development of human resources working in the fields of heritage and archaeology.

“King Salman has supported the archaeology sector ever since its creation. The sector itself was productive and had many scientific, research and museum accomplishments when the authority took over it. The SCTH built on the great achievements and developed them in the fields on archaeological discoveries, and through the efforts to protect and return national antiquities as well as the establishment of a new and sophisticated museums system,” he added.

“The ‘Treasure of China’ exhibition represents the convergence of two great civilizations and economic powers. China is a pivotal country and so is Saudi Arabia, so there are many areas of cooperation in the fields of human and cultural heritage as well as in the tourism sector.”

The opening ceremony was attended by Li Huaxin, the Chinese ambassador in Riyadh, the Saudi ambassador to China, Turki Al-Madhi, and a number of senior officials from both countries.

The exhibition of Chinese cultural relics is a rare opportunity for Riyadh residents and visitors to see a collection of the rarest artifacts that embody the ancient civilizations of China.

Hosted by the SCTH in cooperation with the SACH, the exhibition also displays objects from Chinese-Saudi joint archaeological excavations at the ruins of Al-Sereen site.

The joint work has provided valuable resources for the archaeological research involved with the Maritime Silk Road and revealed close connections between China and the Red Sea area in ancient times.

The exhibits showcasing objects from joint Chinese-Saudi archaeological excavations include a large number of items on display overseas for the first time, the Chinese envoy said.

The exhibition has selected the collection of relics from archaeological excavations and historical monuments collected from Chinese museums. It consists of five sections in chronological order: “The Beginning of Civilization, Establishments of Etiquette,” “Unification, Consolidation and Development,” “Prosperity and Diversified Communication,” “Start-up of Business and Marine Trade,” and “Palace and Royal Art.”

The exhibits vary from pottery, bronze, jade, porcelain, gold, silver, enamel and other Chinese cultural treasures. The exhibition aims to introduce the growth of Chinese civilization and show the social life, culture and arts of Chinese civilizations over thousands of years.

On the sideline of the exhibition, the National Museum is displaying archetypes of the Chinese archaeological artifacts recovered during the excavations at sites in Saudi Arabia, which represent the commercial exchange between China and the Arabic peninsula civilizations.

An area at the exhibition introduces the excavation work being implemented by the joint Saudi-Chinese team at the Al-Sereen site in Qunfudha governorate.

The National Museum in Beijing hosted “Roads of Arabia Expo,” the popular exhibition of Saudi archaeological masterpieces, in 2016, which was the first stop in its Asian tour after its hugely successful international tours hosted by four European cities and five cities in the US.

The SCTH has signed multiple agreements with other countries to organize similar exhibitions at the National Museum as part of its visiting exhibitions program.

We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States help build stronger ties. (AN photo)
Updated 19 September 2018

We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

  • We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States: US Public Affairs Counselor in KSA

RIYADH: Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States “help build stronger ties between the two countries and bring them closer together,” according to Brian Shott, the new US Public Affairs Counselor in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at a reception to welcome him at the US embassy in Riyadh on September 18, he said: “One of the main things we do is we try to share aspects of the United States and of American culture, but we also learn from Saudis and Saudi culture.” 

In her opening speech, the embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Martina Strong also highlighted the enduring relationship between the two countries, saying: “Tonight is a celebration, a celebration of a friendship that has extended over many, many decades.”

Shott, who previously served in Morocco, Cairo and Baghdad, will be in Saudi Arabia for the next two years, during which he will promote educational and cultural exchanges.

“There are some real opportunities here and we have been fortunate enough to be able take advantage of partnerships with Saudi organizations and Saudi agencies, whether it is the General Authority for Culture or the Ministry of Education,” he said.

“We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States.”

Meanwhile, the reception also served as a farewell to Robin Yeager, the cultural attache in Riyadh. She said that it had been a “very dynamic time to be in Saudi Arabia. It has been a pleasure and an honor to be here at a time when I get to know first-hand the future that Saudis are trying to build.”

The night that women were were given the right to drive, she said she went out and saw the “thrill on their faces.” To assist with empowerment and other progressive policies, embassy staff work on social issues and provide leadership training for women’s groups, she said.

“It is beautiful because they take something that an American expert talks to them about and they turn it into the Saudi way to approach it,” she added. “It’s not that we are changing things; it’s that we are giving them tools, so they can build what they want to build.”