Ancient Israel, China meet in first-ever joint antiquities exhibit

Jerusalem’s Bible Lands Museum is sending 15 artifacts to China in the first-ever joint cultural project involving antiquities between the two nations.

By Joseph Wolkin, World Israel News

Jerusalem’s Bible Lands Museum is sending 15 artifacts to China in the first-ever joint cultural project involving antiquities between the two nations. Thanks to this effort, the Sichuan University Museum in Chengu, China hopes to provide visitors with a view into just how similar the two Bronze Age civilizations are.

The exhibit, entitled “Bronze Age Mesopotamia and the Chengdu Plain,” is set to open October 21 and will be on display for six months.

This exhibition will focus on Mesopotamia and the East Asian Chengdu Valley, separated by 5,500 kilometers, showcasing the richness of their ancient cultures. Religious ritual objects will be on display from 3,300 B.C.E to 1,200 B.C.E., known by scholars as the Bronze Age.

Cuneiform tablets, cylinder seals and a statuette made of precious blue lapis lazuli are amongst the 15 objects that will be on display in the Chinese museum. It will also include dozens of artifacts on loan from several museums in China and from America’s Yale Peabody Museum.

This astonishing exhibit will be the first time people can compare these seemingly different cultures up close. Both cities, Jerusalem and Chengdu, centered around water sources. They served as political centers, controlling smaller settlements in their respective areas, establishing governmental and religious institutions.

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Each city created communication systems, using scripts made up of various signs, each of which represented a syllable or a whole word.

“It raises fascinating questions about the character of the ancient civilizations in different parts of Asia and about human history in general,” the Bible Lands Museum said in a statement.

“Perhaps most importantly, the exhibition demonstrates that despite all we may learn about the cultural gaps between civilizations, especially between East and West, at the end of the day, there are more commonalities than differences.”