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Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabulby Fredrik Hiebert
"Thanks to an effective integration of text and image, the book can stand alone, whereas the exhibition really does not. Museum visitors who want to experience more than a visceral gold rush must read the book to appreciate the artifacts, which come from very disparate archaeological contexts stretching from about 2200 B.C. to the first century A.D. The connections between a hoard of Bronze Age bowls, a Greek colonial city, six nomads' graves and an anonymous merchant's warehouse are not self-evident." Frank L. Holt, American Scientist (read the entire American Scientist review)
Synopses & Reviews
Almost 30 years ago, a precious trove of art was spirited away from the National Museum of Afghanistan by a small group of "keyholders" —museum guards, curators, and antiquities lovers who risked their lives to save the countrys cultural treasures. Their actions spared these magnificent pieces from the threat of destruction, first by the invading Soviets in 1979 and more recently by the Taliban. Exquisitely crafted in gold and ivory, the artifacts illustrate Afghanistans key place at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, at the center of the ancient Silk Road—a rich heritage to be displayed at four major U.S. museums through 2009. Crowning this headline-making exhibition is a famous hoard of Bactrian gold, considered to be one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the 20th century.
To help create the exhibit and book, archaeologist and National Geographic Society Fellow Fredrik T. Hiebert inventoried the artifacts at the request of the Afghan government. Gorgeously photographed and elegantly packaged, the collection shines in this official companion to the much anticipated and widely covered tour.
For the eager audiences who will visit, and for legions of art and history lovers across the United States, Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures provides a beautiful, affordable keepsake, a handsome gift, and a rare opportunity to appreciate this matchless tradition of artistry and the steadfast human spirit that preserved it.
Book News Annotation:
This is the catalogue for the traveling exhibition, "Hidden Treasures," organized jointly by the National Geographic Society and Afghanistan's National Museum. The exhibition displayed four collections from the National Museum: a Bronze Age collection of gold bowls from Fullol, artifacts from a Greek city in Northern Afghanistan, the artifacts from a merchant's storeroom unearthed after two millennia, and golden jewels from ancient Bactria. Items from the collection are displayed in 146 color figures and their cultural significance is discussed in textual essays. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
Fredrik T. Hiebert is an archaeologist and explorer who has traced ancient trade routes overland and across the seas for more than 20 years. He has led excavations at ancient Silk Road sites across Asia, from Egypt to Mongolia and rediscovered the lost "Bactrian Gold" in Afghanistan in 2004. His excavations at a 4,000-year-old Silk Road city in Turkmenistan made headlines around the world. Hiebert joined the National Geographic Society in 2003. He is the author of The Origins of Oasis Civilization in Central Asia (1994), A Central Asian Village at the Dawn of Civilization (2006) and Qalat al-Bahain: A Trading and Military Outpost (2006).
Pierre Cambon is the chief curator of the Heritage of the Afghan/Pakistan Section of the Guimet Museum of Asiatic Arts in Paris, France. He is the editor of two books on the ancient cultures of Afghanistan: Afghanistan: Une Histoire Millénaire (2002) and Afghanistan: Les Trésors Retrouvés (2007) based on exhibitions at the Guimet Museum.
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