In the first exchange of its kind, the Bible Lands Museum of Jerusalem is sending 15 artifacts for display in Chengdu, China.
The exhibit will open October 21 at the Sichuan University Museum, and will compare and contrast the two great civilizations that developed in Mesopotamia and in the Chengdu Valley during the Bronze Age.
“This exhibition provides a wonderful opportunity to extend the limits of our knowledge,” said Bible Lands Museum director Amanda Weiss, “to create a dialogue between different cultures, to observe the traits they had in common in the past, and to forge fruitful cooperation in the present.”
There’s a distance of 5,500 kilometers between the two locations, yet there were great similarities in their early development, including the placement of cities near water sources, the development of governments and cultures, religious institutions and the creation of powerful political spheres.
Perhaps most pertinent was the common creation of early scripts made up of signs that represented syllables or whole words.
The 15 artifacts on loan from the Bible Lands Museum include cuneiform tablets, cylinder seals and a statuette made of precious blue lapis lazuli.
Other museums in China as well as the Yale Peabody Museum in the US are lending artifacts to offer a comparative view of the Bronze Age civilizations of Mesopotamia and of the Chengdu Valley in China.