Our pal Ford Cochran was in New York City this past weekend for the opening of the Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And even better, he got a private tour of the exhibit from its curator, National Geographic Fellow Fred Hiebert. Here’s a snippet from Ford’s post on BlogWild:
…He steers me to a case containing fragments of three golden bowls, looking modest compared to most of the pieces on display throughout the gallery. Why these? “These pieces,” says Fred, “this is native gold, more than 4,000 years old, the native wealth of Afghanistan. One looks Mesopotamian. One has motifs from the Indus Valley. When these were made, Afghanistan was already at the center of trade.”
When farmers found the bowls in 1966, says Fred, they didn’t know the cultural history recorded in them, but they knew the gold’s worth.
They cut the bowls into equal-sized pieces so they could share the wealth. Some of the fragments were recovered, and the design of the bowls is still preserved.
I saw the exhibit when it was at the Smithsonian last year and it was breathtaking (my colleague Amy Alipio openly admitted that it made her cry). See the rest of Ford’s post for other curatorial insights, and be sure to check out the show yourself if you’re in New York City; it runs through September 20th.
Photo: Ford Cochran
- Nat Geo Expeditions