RIYADH, January 30 (CIC) – A collection of rare artefacts from the Arabian Peninsula went on display as the Roads of Arabia Expo opened in Tokyo. The Japanese capital is the 13th stop for the traveling Saudi exhibition that seeks to highlight the Kingdom’s cultural heritage to the world.
The “Roads of Arabia – Archaeological Treasures of Saudi Arabia” exhibition, which showcases 466 rare archaeological pieces, was inaugurated on Monday at Tokyo National Museum by Saudi Ambassador Ahmed Bin Yunus Al-Barrak, on behalf of Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), the exhibition’s organiser. The opening ceremony was broadcast live on www.scth.gov.sa/MediaCenter/Pages/LiveStream.aspx.
The artefacts on show cover the period from the Paleolithic period, to the ancient eras before Islam, including the Dilmun period, the civilisations of the early, intermediate and late Arab kingdoms, up to the Islamic period, and up to the establishment of the modern Saudi state.
“The exhibition aims to open a new window onto the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Prince Sultan said in a speech televised via satellite to the opening ceremony.
“The vast majority of people know the Islamic dimension of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the land of the Two Holy Mosques, the cradle of Islam, and that it is the land of oil and has one of the strongest economies in the world,” he said. “It has become necessary for the world to know that Saudi Arabia has another important dimension, which is its great cultural heritage, a great and influential heritage, which affected other human civilizations through the ages.”
“The exhibition aims to inform the world about the civilization and history of the Arabian Peninsula and Saudi Arabia through its archaeological treasures and the latest discoveries that embody the deep cultural dimension of the region throughout history. It emphasizes that our country and the Arabian Peninsula, are not incidental in history, but were a crossroads of civilizations and a route for ancient trade journeys,” Prince Sultan remarked in his speech.
Since its launch at the Louvre Museum in Paris in 2010, the exhibition has achieved remarkable success, reflected in total attendance of more than four million, he said.
Most pieces on show are from the National Museum in Riyadh, King Saud University Museum, as well as many regional museums across the Kingdom.
Since its launch at The Louvre, the exhibition has been held in 10 countries in Europe and the United States. It travelled to la Caixa Foundation in Barcelona, then China and South Korea, Russia, Germany and the United States, including a stretch at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. It has appeared in museums in Pittsburgh, Houston, Kansas City, and San Francisco. The exhibition was also hosted locally in Dhahran and finally in Riyadh. The Riyadh show took place in conjunction with the First Saudi Archaeology Convention.
According to SCTH, the expo is one of the most important events ever organised by Saudi Arabia in Japan in cooperation with the Kingdom’s Embassy in Tokyo, as well as the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Culture and Information. Saudi Aramco co-sponsored the event.