LEXINGTON, KY (June 2, 2011) Continuing its tradition of offering world-class exhibitions to the public, the Kentucky Horse Park’s International Museum of the Horse – a Smithsonian Affiliate - is making final preparations for its next exhibition, Ancient Bronzes of the Asian Grasslands from the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, June 24-Oct 23.
Ancient Bronzes of the Asian Grasslands presents a major sampling of steppe art from the collections of the late Arthur M. Sackler, M.D. Curated by Trudy S. Kawami, Ph.D., Director of Research for the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, the exhibition presents eighty-five works illustrating the personal decorations and equipment of the horse-riding steppe dwellers of the second and first century BCE.
The Eurasian grasslands, also known as the steppes, cover a region extending from northern China westward through Mongolia, to the plains of Eastern Europe. This exhibition focuses on the eastern or Asian steppes whose rolling grassy plains are punctuated by snow-topped mountain ranges like the Tien Shan (Heavenly Mountains), and deserts like the Gobi and the Taklamakan.
The eastern steppes were home to a remarkable ancient culture, whose art, richly decorated with animal motifs, is only now beginning to be understood by scholars. Horses, first domesticated in the steppes, were integral to this culture’s way of life. By 900 BCE, the steppe dwellers, now legendary as riders and breeders, began to supply horses to the empires of eastern and western Asia.
Visitors will see ornate, technically sophisticated, and richly patterned bronze belt buckles, plaques, and weapons of these ancient horsemen and striking examples of the nomad culture that flourished across the Asian grasslands from Central Asia to Mongolia and northern China.
There will also be a public lecture by Dr. Kawami on Saturday, June 25, 10:30am in the South Theatre of the Visitor Information Center.
The exhibition and lecture are included with park admission.
For more information on Ancient Bronzes of the Asian Grasslands, contact the International Museum of the Horse at 859-259-4232.
Watch a video of this exhibition from the Everhart Museum, where it was on view last year:
About the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation:
The exhibition is organized by the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, New York. Arthur M. Sackler, M.D. (1913-1987) a research psychiatrist, medical publisher, connoisseur and collector of art, established the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation in 1965 to make his extensive art collections accessible to the public. The Foundation collection has more than 1,000 works of art including Chinese ritual bronzes and ceramics, Buddhist stone sculpture and the renowned Chi Silk Manuscript, the oldest existing Chinese written document.
Trudy S. Kawami, Director of Research for the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, received her Ph.D. in art history and archaeology from Columbia University, where she specialized in the art of ancient Western Asia. She has carried out research in Turkey, Iran and Israel, and in major European museums. The author of Monumental Art of the Parthian Period in Iran (Leiden: 1987), and Ancient Iranian Ceramics from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections (New York: 1992), Dr. Kawami has published numerous articles and lectures frequently. She currently teaches a course on the art of the ancient Near East at the School of the Visual Arts in New York City.