Ancient Near Eastern Art
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The Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art covers both a lengthy chronological span and a vast geographical area. The collection of more than seven thousand works of art ranges in date from 8000 B.C. (the Neolithic period) to the Arab conquest and rise of Islam beginning in A.D. 651. The works come from ancient Mesopotamia, Iran, Syria, Anatolia, and other lands in the region that extends from the Black and Caspian Seas in the north to the southwestern Arabian peninsula, and from western Turkey on the Mediterranean Sea to the Indus River Valley in modern-day Pakistan and India. Societies throughout the ancient Near East maintained commercial and cultural contacts across great distances, although the routes, trade goods, and artistic styles and motifs that were exchanged varied in different periods. Strengths of the department's collection, in formation for more than a century, include Sumerian sculptures; Anatolian ivories; Iranian bronzes; metalwork from Bronze Age Bactria in modern-day Afghanistan and Turkmenistan; and magnificent silver and gold vessels from the Achaemenid, Parthian, and Sasanian eras in Iran. These objects are joined by an extraordinary group of Assyrian stone reliefs depicting scenes of warfare and ritual and by enormous guardian figures, all from the Northwest Palace of Ashurnasirpal II (883–859 B.C.) at Nimrud, as well as by fine ivory carvings, many of which originally served as furniture ornaments at that site. There is also a large collection of stamp and cylinder seals representative of the various cultures of the ancient Near East.
Venue: Metropolitan Museum of No (MET)
1000 5th Ave
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