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Education Exhibitions Travel

K2 Friday Night Revelry at the Rubin Museum of Art

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On Friday evenings from 6:00-10:00 PM, the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City becomes a lively social venue with a full bar, series of special public lectures or tours, and complimentary gallery admission. In January, Ancient History Encyclopedia’s Communications Director, James Blake Wiener, partook in the museum’s end of the week festivities and learned a curious thing or two about Tibetan art along the way.

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Photos Travel

Finding the hidden Naram-Sin rock relief in Iraq

I was chatting with my uncle about the archaeological reliefs in the Governorate of Sulaymaniyah. The Governorate is part of Iraqi Kurdistan and is about 400 km north-west of Baghdad. He said that he saw a relief in the year 1985 on a top of a mountain, south-west of the city of Sulaymaniyah. The name of the relief, as the local villagers call it, is Naram-Sin (Arabic: نارام سين ; Kurdish: نيرام سن). This happens to also be the name Sargon the Great‘s grandson; Naram-Sin of Akkad (reigned 2261-2224 BCE). Interesting!

Ok, let’s go. I drove my car and in about 2 hours, I reached the area my uncle had talked about (there is a road from the main street up to the top of the mountain, which was made by the local government). After that, I had to use my feet. From the top of the mountain, I descended down into a valley-like crevice. It is not that dangerous if you are familiar with hiking. Finally, there you are!

The dead silence of the mountain top, together with the wind and the sound of the tree branches, make you feel the history and smell its 4000 years’ scent.

The rock relief lies on the cliff side of Darband-i-Gawr (which means the pass of the pagan). This pass is part of the south-eastern side of the Qara Dagh (also written Kara Dagh) mountain range. Qara Dagh is a Turkish term which means the “black mountain.” It is a double range of cretaceous limestone, reaching a height of more than 1,700 meters above sea level.

This is where the road ends. I had to descend through this slit (on the right of the viewer) which leads to a valley within the mountain top, Darband-i-Gawr.
This is where the road ends. I had to descend through this crevice (on the right of the viewer) which leads to a valley within the mountain top, Darband-i-Gawr. Photo © Osama S. M. Amin.
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Exhibitions

Defining Beauty Exhibition

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The British Museum in London has just announced an upcoming exhibition that’s right down our alley: Defining beauty – the body in ancient Greek art. The exhibition is on from 26 March to 5 July 2015. Tickets are priced rather heftily at £16.50 (children and museum members go free, discounted tickets are available). Pre-booking is already available, as these types of exhibitions often fill up quickly.

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Photos

Beauty in Ancient Greek Sculpture

Greek sculpture from 800 to 300 BCE took early inspiration from Egyptian and Near Eastern monumental art, and over centuries evolved into a uniquely Greek vision of the art form. Greek artists would reach a peak of artistic excellence which captured the human form in a way never before seen and which was much copied. Greek sculptors were particularly concerned with proportion, poise, and the idealised perfection of the human body, and their figures in stone and bronze have become some of the most recognisable pieces of art ever produced by any civilization.

They created life-size and life-like sculpture which glorified the human and especially nude male form. Even more was achieved than this though. Marble turned out to be a wonderful medium for rendering what all sculptors strive for: that is to make the piece seem carved from the inside rather than chiselled from the outside. Quite simply, the sculptures no longer seemed to be sculptures but were figures instilled with life and verve.

Crouching Aphrodite

This Crouching Aphrodite marble statue is a Roman variant of the 2nd century CE after a Hellenistic type. It depicts Aphrodite as bathing, crouching with her right knee close to the ground. (Louvre Museum). Photo by Carole Raddato, CC-BY-SA.
This Crouching Aphrodite marble statue is a Roman variant of the 2nd century CE after a Hellenistic type. It depicts Aphrodite as bathing, crouching with her right knee close to the ground. (Louvre Museum). Photo by Carole Raddato, CC-BY-SA.