The World between Empires: Art and Identity in the Ancient Middle East

  • through June 23, 2019
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
From 100 BCE to 250 CE, the territories and trading networks of the Middle East were contested between Roman and Parthian Empires, yet across the region, life was not defined by these two superpowers alone. Local cultures and religious traditions flourished, and sculptures, wall paintings, jewelry and other objects reveal how identities were expressed through art. Featuring 190 works from museums in the Middle East, Europe and the US, this exhibition follows a journey along the great incense and silk routes that connected cities in southwestern Arabia, Nabataea, Judaea, Syria and Mesopotamia, making the region a center of global trade. Several of the archeological sites's features, including Palmyra, Dura-Europos and Hatra, have been deliberately damaged in recent years, and the exhibition examines these events and responses to them.

Musée du Louvre, Paris © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource
Statuette of a goddess, first c. BCE – first c. CE, Babylon, alabaster, stucco, gold and rubies.

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