A new international exhibition entitled “Bronze Age Mesopotamia and the Chengdu Plain,” will open October 21 in China – representing the first time that Israeli historical artifacts will be displayed in the Asian superpower. Hosted at the Sichuan University Museum the exhibition focuses on the two ancient civilizations that developed at the opposite extremities of Asia: Mesopotamia in the Middle East and the East Asian Chengdu Valley.
Scholars define the Bronze Age as taking place between 3,300 BCE to 1,200 BCE.
The Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem – the only one of its kind dedicated to the history of the Ancient Near East from a biblical perspective – will loan 15 artifacts to the exhibit. Through these objects – cuneiform tablets, cylinder seals, and a statuette made of precious blue lapis lazuli – visitors will discover the way of life, the royal institutions and the rituals that characterized the ancient Mesopotamian civilization. In addition, the exhibition will include dozens of artifacts on loan from various museums in China and from the Yale Peabody Museum in the United States.
The exhibit has been constructed in such a way to offer visitors a comparative view of two Bronze Age civilizations – separated by 5,500 kilometers (3,400 miles) – and in regions that witnessed the development of rich cultures.
“The goal of the Museum is to connect each individual with their own educational heritage through the treasures on display. Welcoming visitors of all faiths and nationalities, it brings the universal narrative of the development of civilization to audiences through exhibitions, and cultural programs ,” said Director of Bible Lands Museum Amanda Weiss.
“This exhibition provides a wonderful opportunity to extend the limits of our knowledge, to create a dialog between different cultures, to observe the traits they had in common in the past, and to forge fruitful in the present.,” she added.
The exhibition marks the first collaboration of its kind between Israel and China – and is symptomatic of a deepening of ties between the two countries – culturally and economically. Despite a slight decline in Chinese tourism to Israel in 2018 – following a government directive that it was not safe to travel there – numbers are beginning to pick up again. In the first eight months of the year, Israel welcomed a total of 65,500 tourists from China, which was still more than in all of 2015, but down 8 percent from the same period in 2017.