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Touring Afghan artifacts arrive in Hong Kong for a special showcase

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-11-19 10:55

The statuette of a goddess (first century AD) is among the 231 items and sets of rare artifacts from Afghanistan on show at the Hong Kong Museum of History after traveling to 28 museums across the world. [PHOTO/CHINA NEWS SERVICE]

A batch of 231 items and sets of "national treasures" from Afghanistan recently made it to the Hong Kong Museum of History after traveling to 28 museums across the world.

The rare artifacts showcased in an exhibition, Glistening Treasures in the Dust-Ancient Artifacts of Afghanistan, comprise gold items, glassware, bronze sculptures and ivory carvings unearthed from the four main archaeological sites of Tepe Fullol, Ai Khanum, Tillya Tepe and Begram.

"These items cover a time span from the Bronze Age to the first century AD, which demonstrates the profound influence of ancient foreign cultures, such as Greek, Roman and Indian, on Afghanistan and its surrounding regions," says Ho Wai Yee, curator of collection at the Dr Sun Yat-sen Museum of the Hong Kong Museum of History.

"This also evinces its cultural diversity, embracing the features of different steppe cultures," Ho adds.

The event, jointly hosted by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's leisure and cultural services department and the National Museum of Afghanistan, is one of the key exhibitions for the museum this year. The exhibition runs through February.

Key exhibits include a golden bowl engraved with a bearded bull unearthed from Tepe Fullol, gold artifacts that integrate different cultural elements of the Eurasian regions and a plaque depicting Jataka scenes of the Buddha's previous life. These artifacts also attest to the role Afghanistan played as the cultural crossroads of the ancient Silk Road, which promoted exchanges among world civilizations.

"Afghanistan is a place that people feel is both strange and familiar," Ho says, adding that people are familiar because they often read news stories about the political situation there, but few are aware of its splendid culture.

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