Friday, July 08, 2005

Caravan Kingdoms: Yemen and the Ancient Incense Trade comes to the Smithsonian

Caravan Kingdoms: Yemen and the Ancient Incense Trade: "For over a thousand years, from around 800 B.C.E. to 600 C.E., the kingdoms of Qataban, Saba (biblical Sheba), and Himyar grew fabulously wealthy from their control over the caravan routes of the southern Arabian peninsula and, in particular, from the international trade in frankincense and myrrh. Excavations at the capitals of these ancient kingdoms have yielded spectacular examples of architecture, distinctive stone funerary sculpture, elaborate inscriptions on stone, bronze, and wood, and sophisticated metalwork.

For the first and only time in North America, Yemen's stunning artistic heritage will be examined in a major international exhibition organized by the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Drawn from the collections of the Republic of Yemen, the American Foundation for the Study of Man, the British Museum, and Dumbarton Oaks, this exhibition of approximately 200 objects explores the unique cultural traditions of these ancient kingdoms. It gives special emphasis to the rich artistic interaction that resulted from overland and maritime contacts linking the southern Arabian peninsula with the eastern Mediterranean, northeastern Africa, and south and southwest Asia."