See Ancient Trade Route Treasures at the Met

Their second theme is usually preservation, along with their urging of museums to protect, document along with contextualize vulnerable work carries special weight at a time when questions around the restitution of cultural property are inside the air. Should objects be returned even when the return might place them in danger? The issue is usually ethically many-sided along with emotionally complicated, however at least one reaction feels clear looking around the show: You can’t help however feel relief that will what’s here is usually safely here.

along with there are magnetic things. One is usually a tiny Babylonian Venus, her nude body carved coming from milky alabaster, her eyes set with rubies, a gold crescent moon in her hair. A tomb relief of a young Palmyrene woman named Bat’a is usually another; traces of original paint intensify her riveted, direct-address gaze. along with there’s a marvelous life-size carving of an eagle coming from Petra. Possibly conceived as a protector of the dead, that will stands alert, wind-tousled along with spread-winged, as if braced for a storm.

along using a singular piece that will ends the show, a late-third-century Sardonyx cameo, marks the start of a fresh Middle East history. Two decades or so before the cameo was carved, the Sasanian Empire rose to power in what is usually today Iran. Its first ruler, Ardashir I, vanquished the Parthians. His son, Shapur I, triumphed over the Roman army along with, shockingly, captured its emperor Valerian.

This kind of is usually the event etched inside the cameo, which, like so much art inside the show, sends complex political along with ideological messages echoing back along with forth through time. The cameo form itself was one anciently associated with the celebration of Greco-Roman imperial rule, however here, adapted for use as Sasanian propaganda, that will advertises the ignoble defeat of that will rule. along with although the event depicted is usually grim — Valerian died in captivity — the object that will records that will is usually a thing of unusual beauty, with colors dark as the sea, bright as the sky.


the planet Between Empires: Art along with Identity inside the Ancient Middle East

March 18 through June 23 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Manhattan; 212-535-7710, metmuseum.org.