Set to open on 8th November 2018, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is preparing to showcase an exhibition dedicated to Saudi Arabian history, entitled, Roads of Arabia: Archaeological Treasures of Saudi Arabia, under the patronage of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
As part of the museum’s new culture season, the exhibition will highlight the Arabian Peninsula’s rich history through discovered archaeological artefacts, as well as rare findings from the UAE region.
The exhibition was put together by SCTH and the Musée du Louvre in Paris, where it was originally showcased in 2010. It is one of the most internationally renowned Saudi exhibitions which has introduced the Arab region’s culture and history to over five million people worldwide. Roads of Arabia has been part of 14 acclaimed editions throughout Asia, USA and Europe before coming to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, where selected pieces from the UAE will also be added.
H.E. Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, stated, “The United Arab Emirates and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have always been connected by a common heritage and history. This year’s edition of the exhibition will be a reflection of the rich, shared cultural heritage and deep-rooted history between the two nations.”
Exploring five chapters of Arabian history, the exhibition will cover prehistoric settlements and maritime exploration to caravan trading routes that linked the region with Asia, Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean; routes of holy pilgrimage emerging in the 7th century CE; and the social and economic developments between the 14th and 16th centuries.
Manuel Rabaté, Director of Louvre Abu Dhabi spoke about the upcoming exhibition, “The Arabian Peninsula has been a place of exchange, culture and civilisation since earliest Antiquity, and Louvre Abu Dhabi is deeply rooted in the region’s unique history and context. The exhibition is an important opportunity for us to re-examine and celebrate this rich heritage through a remarkable series of artefacts, expanding on the regional pieces in our permanent collection to tell an Arabian story from a new perspective.”
It will be the first time that the exhibition will feature significant archeological artefacts from the UAE, including a pearl found in Umm Al Quwain dating from 5500-5300 BCE (loaned by Umm Al Quwain Museum); a stone decorated with a wild camel from the late 3rd millennium BCE (loaned by Al Ain Museum), a remarkable 1st millennium BCE pieces from Saruq al Hadid (loaned by Dubai Municipality), as well as objects from Julfar (loaned by the National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah).
These artifacts will be exhibited alongside important historical findings from Saudi Arabia, including a 1st-century BCE gold funerary mask from Eastern Province (loaned by the National Museum in Riyadh), 9th-century engraved steles (loaned by King Fahad National Library); 4th-millennium BCE Anthropomorphic stele (loaned by the National Museum in Riyadh); a door of the Kaaba dating to 1355 (loaned by the National Museum in Riyadh), and a key of the Kaaba (loaned by the Department of Islamic Art at the Musée du Louvre).
Upon the opening of the highly anticipated Roads of Arabia: Archaeological Treasures of Saudi Arabia exhibition, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will be hosting a three day celebratory event featuring a performance entitled “On the Roads of Arabia” – a creation from music, dances and poetry by 80 artists from around the world and a contemporary, calligraphic street art drawing designed by Tunisian artist Koom. The event will also host curatorial talks, as well as a range of education workshops, guided tours and film screenings selected by Hind Mezana.
The exhibition is free and guided tours will be available in Arabic, English and French.