Maria gibi Paria + [Yemen]

'Unearthing Arabia: The Archaeological Adventures of Wendell Phillips' at the Freer and Sackler Galleries

Wendell Phillips, a young paleontologist and geologist, headed one of the largest archaeological expeditions to remote South Arabia (present-day Yemen) from 1949 to 1951. Accompanied by some of the leading scholars, scientists, and technicians of the day, Phillips was on a quest to uncover two ancient cities - Timna, the capital of the once-prosperous Qataban kingdom, and Marib, the reputed home of the legendary Queen of Sheba - that had flourished along the fabled incense road some 2,500 years earlier.

'Unearthing Arabia: The Archaeological Adventures of Wendell Phillips' at the Freer and Sackler Galleries
Phillips stands with Yemeni men, including Sheik Al-Barhi (center), a leader of the Bal Harith tribe, and a child in the desert. Courtesy American Foundation for the Study of Man
Exhibition Highlights

Through a selection of unearthed objects as well as film and photography shot by the expedition team, the exhibition highlights Phillips’s key finds, recreates his adventures (and misadventures), and conveys the thrill of discovery on this important great archaeological frontier.

'Unearthing Arabia: The Archaeological Adventures of Wendell Phillips' at the Freer and Sackler Galleries
Plaque with inscription and phiale held in protruding right hand Yemen; mid-1st
century BCE Bronze Gift of The American Foundation for the Study of Man, Wendell and Merilyn Phillips Collection, S2013.2.203
On view will be eyewitness videos, photos, diaries and first-hand documents alongside over 80 of the most important documented collection of Yemeni artifacts outside of the country, dating from the 8th century BCE to 2nd century CE.

The exhibition will highlight a famed pair of striding Hellenistic bronze lions surmounted by a figure of Eros, the Greek god of love. Known as the “Lions of Timna,” the skillfully cast sculptural forms - once featured on Yemeni currency - exemplify the vibrant cultural exchange between the Qataban and Greek empires, and inscriptions on its base allow researchers to reconstruct the home it came from and explore familial relationships of its affluent owners.

'Unearthing Arabia: The Archaeological Adventures of Wendell Phillips' at the Freer and Sackler Galleries
Head of a woman (known as Miriam) Yemen; mid-1st century CE Alabaster, stucco and lapis lazuli Gift of The American Foundation for the Study of Man, Wendell and Merilyn Phillips Collection, S2013.2.44
Also featured is an iconic translucent alabaster head of a young woman, with lapis lazuli eyebrows and an Egyptian hairstyle. Unearthed in the cemetery of Timna, the head was named “Miriam” after the daughter of a member of the expedition.

Other excavated objects featured include precious incense burners, delicately carved alabaster ibexes, finely articulated funerary sculpture, and a wealth of inscriptions that offer unprecedented insight into the life and times of the ancient people of Arabia.

Where: The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

When: Oct. 11, 2014 to June 7, 2015

Source: Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery [August 06, 2014]

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