Art, Trade, and Diplomacy in the Second Millennium B.C.
November 18, 2008–March 15, 2009
This exhibition focuses on the extraordinary art created as a result of a sophisticated network of interaction that developed among kings, diplomats, merchants, and others in the Near East during the second millennium B.C. Approximately 350 objects of the highest artistry from royal palaces, temples, and tombs—as well as from a unique shipwreck—provide the visitor with an overview of artistic exchange and international connections throughout the period. From Syria, Mesopotamia, and Egypt in the south to Thrace, Anatolia, and the Caucasus in the north, and from regions as far west as mainland Greece all the way east to Iran, the great royal houses forged intense international relationships through the exchange of traded raw materials and goods as well as letters and diplomatic gifts. This unprecedented movement of precious materials, luxury goods, and people resulted in a total transformation of the visual arts throughout a vast territory that spanned the ancient Near East and the eastern Mediterranean. Because many of these works have either only recently been excavated or have never been shown abroad, this exhibition is a singular opportunity for the public to experience the rich artistic and cultural traditions of this period.