Sunday, November 9, 2008

Witnessing a Miracle

There are a number of great art shows right now in San Francisco, including Martin Puryear at SFMOMA, but it's hard to beat "Afghanistan; Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul" at the Asian Art Museum. Not only is the work on display breathtakingly beautiful and deeply fascinating as an intimate glimpse of the long ago and far away, but the show itself is a true miracle out of a battered world. The pieces on display are from four sites in Afghanistan and date for the most part from the early centuries of the common era, soon after Alexander made his mark there, when the Silk Road was at the height of vigorous trade among widespread nations, including China, Egypt, India, Rome, and the West. For countless centuries Afghanistan was a rich and important land (evidence of trade with Mesopotamia dates to about 4000 bce) - elaborately worked gold testifies to a wealthy, sophisticated culture whose Nomadic strains helped insure a splendid display of jewelry and burial goods. The heroes behind this exhibition are ordinary Afghans who risked their lives during the Soviet and Taliban years, keeping goods hidden where they could not be stolen or destroyed. In 2003, with the removal of the Taliban, priceless examples of a heritage that belongs to all humankind were discovered intact in a bank vault in Kabul. This amazing show is at the Asian Art Museum until January 25.


Daisy Bateman said...

Thanks for the heads-up! I definitely try and check it out.

Unknown said...

Yep, it's a fantastic show and Marilyn's blog captures the essence of it. Thanks for getting me there!!