For the first time, rare artifacts from the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem will be displayed in a new exhibition at the Louvre in Paris.
The exhibition is “Forgotten Kingdoms: From the Hittite Empire to the Arameans,” open May 2 through August 12.
Among the artifacts on display will be four rare pieces from the Bible Lands Museum. Taken from the museum’s permanent exhibition, they have been lent to the Louvre through a long, complex process of conservation and approval, involving many staff members from both museums.
This is the first collaboration between an Israeli museum and the Louvre, the world’s largest art museum and an historic monument in Paris.
“This collaboration will enable millions of people from around the world to gain a glimpse into the fascinating history of our region,” said Amanda Weiss, director of the Bible Lands Museum, adding that she hoped it would be the first of many.
The four ancient items on loan to the Louvre are a rare 130-centimeter basalt stele bearing an inscription of Hamiyatas, king of the Neo-Hittite kingdom of Masuwari; a stamp seal made of blue chalcedony depicting a winged lion and the head of a bearded man; a stele from the kingdom of Marash (circa 10th-8th century BCE) with an engraved relief of a couple feasting at a table filled with flat breads; and a stone libation vessel from the kingdom of Carchemish that was used to pour liquids.
The exhibition focuses on the Neo-Hittite and Aramean kingdoms that arose after the fall of the Hittite Empire — the great rival of ancient Egypt that stretched across Anatolia and ruled the lands of the eastern Mediterranean until around 1200 BCE.
The artifacts on loan to the Louvre reveal various facets of Neo-Hittite culture, especially its religious dimensions and the responsibilities of state rulers to their gods. The exhibition will offer the general public a look at the legendary sites of this forgotten civilization.