At the Art Gallery of NSW until 15th June 2014.
Seeing the ancient artefacts of Afghanistan, now on view at the Art Gallery of NSW, carries the burden of acknowledging what has been lost in recent times regarding that countries culture and philosophy. For those not familiar with the importance of the land as a hub for trade from which various luxurious goods were distributed as far back as 2200 BCE this exhibition is essential.
Everyday objects become exquisite and the imagination extrapolates a thriving metropolis adorned with the artefacts on exhibit. Many of these objects such as vases and jugs have been damaged however the craftsmanship and technique can be appreciated. It is a credit to the staff of The National Museum of Kabul who had the foresight after the Soviet troops withdrew in the 1980’s to preserve some of the objects in the vaults of the Central Bank. Anticipating the destruction of these precious insights into a way of life alien and incongruous to our highly mechanised and industrial world is respected. History becomes relevant when preservation is valued.
A highlight of the exhibition is the Tillya Tepe: the hill of gold section. Tombs dating back to c100BCE-c100CE were excavated in 1978 and revealed the “Bactrian hoard” many gold objects buried with the deceased. What is made obvious in this section is the mimicking of many aspects of personal adornment dating back to ancient times that that are adopted today.
Primarily this small exhibition offers an education into an ancient civilisation functioning orderly and effectively without our modern conveniences. Perhaps it’s to be appreciated that a human civilisation can be successful without leaving a massive environmental footprint. It’s to be wondered what future generations will say about our energy dependent society in 2000 years’ time?