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Seller: ancientgifts (4,619) 100%, Location: Lummi Island, Washington, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 382787039291 Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul by Fredrik Hiebert (Editor) and Pierre Cambon (Editor). Also Published as “Afghanistan: Crossroads of the Ancient World.“ NOTE: We have 75,000 books in our library, almost 10,000 different titles. Odds are we have other copies of this same title in varying conditions, some less expensive, some better condition. We might also have different editions as well (some paperback, some hardcover, oftentimes international editions). If you don’t see what you want, please contact us and ask. We’re happy to send you a summary of the differing conditions and prices we may have for the same title. DESCRIPTION: Softcover. Publisher: National Geographic (2008). Pages: 304. Size: Size: 10 x 10 x 1 inch; 3¾ pounds. Summary: Almost 30 years ago, a precious trove of art was spirited away from the National Museum of Afghanistan by a small group of "keyholders" —museum guards, curators, and antiquities lovers who risked their lives to save the country’s cultural treasures. Their actions spared these magnificent pieces from the threat of destruction, first by the invading Soviets in 1979 and more recently by the Taliban. Exquisitely crafted in gold and ivory, the artifacts illustrate Afghanistan’s key place at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, at the center of the ancient Silk Road—a rich heritage to be displayed at four major U.S. museums through 2009. Crowning this headline-making exhibition is a famous hoard of Bactrian gold, considered to be one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. To help create the exhibit and book, archaeologist and National Geographic Society Fellow Fredrik T. Hiebert inventoried the artifacts at the request of the Afghan government. Gorgeously photographed and elegantly packaged, the collection shines in this official companion to the much anticipated and widely covered tour. For the eager audiences who will visit, and for legions of art and history lovers across the United States, “Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures” provides a beautiful, affordable keepsake, a handsome gift, and a rare opportunity to appreciate this matchless tradition of artistry and the steadfast human spirit that preserved it. CONDITION: NEW. HUGE new softcover. Harry N. Abrams (1999) 352 pages. Unblemished in every respect except for faint edge and corner shelfwear to the covers. Inside the book is pristine, the pages are clean, crisp, unmarked, unmutilated, tightly bound, unambiguously unread. I would also note that if you hold the book up to the light, you can see faint fine rubbing/scratching/scuffing to the covers(covers are photo-finish, high gloss black, and so show rub marks even merely from being shelved between other books). Condition is entirely consistent with new stock from a bookstore environment such as Barnes & Noble or B. Dalton), where otherwise "new" books might show minor signs of shelfwear, consequence simply of being shelved and re-shelved. Satisfaction unconditionally guaranteed. In stock, ready to ship. No disappointments, no excuses. PROMPT SHIPPING! HEAVILY PADDED, DAMAGE-FREE PACKAGING! #8895c. PLEASE SEE DESCRIPTIONS AND IMAGES BELOW FOR DETAILED REVIEWS AND FOR PAGES OF PICTURES FROM INSIDE OF BOOK. PLEASE SEE PUBLISHER, PROFESSIONAL, AND READER REVIEWS BELOW. PUBLISHER REVIEWS: REVIEW: Renowned for a magnificently treacherous mountain terrain, and for a brave tradition that has defeated invaders from ancient nomads to the Soviet Army, the Afghans bestride one of the most famous and lucrative trading routes in history, the Silk Road. At the nexus of this route, Afghans laid claim to a fabulous wealth of treasures from Europe, the Middle East, China, India, Africa, and the West." "Among these troves, one glitters with a particular intensity. Lost for centuries and unearthed only months before the Russian invasion of 1979, this find and its centerpiece, known as the Bactrian Hoard, was saved from invaders and the Taliban by a group who have come to be known as "the key holders": curators and guards of the Afghan National Museum, who risked their lives to hide the finest pieces for nearly thirty years. These ordinary Afghans withstood the threat of violence (and in at least one case, actual torture) at the hands of ruthless would-be thieves, and endured hardship, hunger, fear and temptation to keep their dangerous secret, until the exquisite craftsmanship of the Bactrian Hoard was again revealed - and exhibited as a symbol of a newly resurgent Afghanistan." "This unique and beautiful collection travels the United States from the spring of 2008 until the fall of 2009. This volume is the catalogue for this exhibition, a stunning full-color portfolio of hundreds of photographs that captures all the drama, beauty, and historical heritage of the Bactrian Hoard and the Afghan culture it so eloquently represents. REVIEW: This book presents an introduction to the diverse and little-known culture of ancient Afghanistan, illustrating it's key place at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East and Asia, along the Silk Road - one of the world's great trading routes. At risk of destruction by the Soviets during the 1979 invasion and more recently, the Taliban, a priceless fortune in art from the Afghan National Museum that was secreted by museum guards, curators and antiquities lovers who pledged never to give up their secret. The objects they fought and died to rescue form the basis for this headline-making exhibition. It includes centuries old artifacts such as the famous hoard of Bactrian gold, considered by many to be one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. All beautifully photographed and described by the author, the National Geographic Fellow who re-discovered the Bactrian Gold in 2004 and inventoried the collection at the request of the Afghan government. REVIEW: In 1988, Afghanistan was ten years into a violent civil war. As the security situation in the capital worsened, government and National Museum officials worried the Kabul museum, home to thousands of historical artifacts and works of art, would be destroyed or looted. They made a plan to transfer many of the objects to secret hiding places. By 1989, the transfer was complete, and caches of priceless historical objects were secured in the Ministry of Information and the Central Bank treasury vault at the presidential palace. Among the hidden treasures were Bronze Age gold pieces, hundreds of ancient coins, and the famous "Bactrian hoard," a collection of some 20,000 gold, silver, and ivory objects from burial plots at Tillya Tepe in northern Afghanistan. Workers involved in the transfer swore secrecy and designated "key holders" for the vaults. They kept their covenant through civil war and Taliban rule at enormous personal risk. The objects remained hidden despite nearly constant conflict and political upheaval in Kabul. But a campaign by the Taliban in 2001 to "destroy all images" resulted in the loss of thousands of irreplaceable artifacts throughout the country, including many of the items hidden in the Ministry of Information. But the palace treasures survived. In 2003, after the Taliban had been thrown from power by a U.S. military campaign and Afghanistan's first open elections had installed Hamid Karzai as president, a report from the Central Bank in Kabul revealed that the museum trunks deposited at the palace vault in 1989 were intact. A team of local and international experts, including archaeologist and National Geographic Fellow Fredrik Hiebert, assembled in Kabul to see the vault opened and verify the authenticity of its contents. When the first safe was finally cracked, the team saw piles of small plastic bags with old labels, each one containing beads and jewelry. Russian archaeologist Viktor Sarianidi, whose team had discovered the Tillya Tepe objects in 1979, smiled when he spotted an artifact with a small wire repair that he'd made with his own hands. In June of 2004, an announcement was made to the world that the Bactrian hoard and other hidden treasures of Afghanistan were found, and an international effort was mounted to preserve these collections and put them on exhibition for the world to see. "Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures From the National Museum, Kabul" offers the world a look at a selection of the contents of the Central Bank vault. It is a collection of some of the most remarkable archaeological finds in all of Central Asia, pieces that are not only artistically splendid but also reveal a diverse and thriving ancient culture. The exhibition includes four separate collections. One is from the ancient city of Fullol and includes a Bronze Age set of gold bowls that hint of the native wealth of Afghanistan. Another contains artifacts from Aï Khanum, a Greek city in northern Afghanistan. A third features untouched treasures from what is thought to be a merchant's storeroom in Begram, sealed up 2,000 years ago. And the fourth is the Bactrian gold, a collection of the precious items discovered in the graves of six nomads in Tillya Tepe. "Hidden Treasures" offers visitors a look not only at the rare and beautiful objects themselves but also at the history and significance of Afghanistan as a place of remarkable diversity. Aside from Fullol, the Bronze Age site, the collections relate to one of the most dynamic periods in Afghanistan's history, from the third century B.C. to the first century A.D., which covers the beginning of Silk Road trade. REVIEW: Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures provides a beautiful, affordable keepsake, a handsome gift, and a rare opportunity to appreciate this matchless tradition of artistry and the steadfast human spirit that preserved it. REVIEW: Features the cultural and historical treasures of Afghanistan that were smuggled out of the National Museum by guards, curators, and antiquities lovers, who protected them from destruction by the Soviets and the Taliban. REVIEW: Fredrik T. Hiebert is an archaeologist and explorer who has traced ancient trade routes overland and across the seas for more than 20 years. He has led excavations at ancient Silk Road sites across Asia, from Egypt to Mongolia and rediscovered the lost "Bactrian Gold" in Afghanistan in 2004. His excavations at a 4,000-year-old Silk Road city in Turkmenistan made headlines around the world. Hiebert joined the National Geographic Society in 2003. He is the author of “The Origins of Oasis Civilization in Central Asia” (1994), “A Central Asian Village at the Dawn of Civilization” (2006) and “Qal’at al-Bahain: A Trading and Military Outpost” (2006). Pierre Cambon is the chief curator of the Heritage of the Afghan/Pakistan Section of the Guimet Museum of Asiatic Arts in Paris, France. He is the editor of two books on the ancient cultures of Afghanistan: “Afghanistan: Une Histoire Millénaire” (2002) and “Afghanistan: Les Trésors Retrouvés” (2007) based on exhibitions at the Guimet Museum. TABLE OF CONTENTS: The National Museum of Afghanistan by Omara Khan Massoudi. Saving Afghanistan's Heritage by Carla Grissmann and Fredrik Hiebert. The Treasure of Tepe Fullol by Jean-François Jarrige. Tepe Fullol Catalog by Fredrik Hiebert. The Greek Colony at Aï Khanum and Hellinism in Central Asia by Paul Bernard. Aï Khanum Catalog by Paul Bernard. Begram, at the Heart of the Silk Roads by Sanjyot Mehendale. Begram, Alexandria of the Caucasus, Capital of the Kushan Empire by Pierre Cambon. Begram Catalog by Sanjyot Mehendale. Ancient Bactria's Golden Hoard by Viktor Ivanovich Sarianidi. Tillya Tepe, the Hill of Gold, a Nomad Necropolis by Véronique Schiltz. Tillya Tepe Catalog by Véronique Schiltz. PROFESSIONAL REVIEWS: REVIEW: Three gold bowls shining in a glass case pull visitors into the National Gallery of Art’s exhibit Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul. Visitors peer intently into the case, trying to make out the impressions of abstract Central Asian designs and Mesopotamian-influenced images of bearded bulls that decorate the 4,000-year-old bowls from a burial mound at Tepe Fullol. Gold items like these drove mujahideen fighters and Taliban zealots to search relentlessly for the museum’s treasures since 1988, when Omara Khan Massoudi, director of Afghanistan’s National Museum in Kabul, and a team of museum workers hid 22,607 of the museum’s finest artifacts dating from 2000 B.C. to A.D. 100. Unknown to nearly everyone, the ancient masterpieces, including ivory carvings from Begram and elaborate gold jewelry from Tillya Tepe, sat in a vault at the presidential palace as the nation’s capital descended into civil war following the end of Soviet occupation. For 20 years the archaeological community believed the artifacts had been destroyed or had disappeared into the antiquities market as a succession of mujahideen warlords won and lost control of Kabul. Finally the Taliban came, and smashed any artifact that seemed vaguely like a religious idol. With the museum collections destroyed or in hiding and the Afghan people struggling to survive, a two-decade rift has opened between the Afghans and the history that defines their nation. An entire generation now entering adulthood has grown up knowing almost nothing about Afghanistan’s place as a melting pot of civilizations from Greece to China. In 2002, Massoudi revealed the secret he and his staff had risked their lives to keep, but the crates were not opened until March 2004. “You can’t believe the emotions,” says Fred Hiebert, an expert in Central Asian archaeology who was part of the team of scholars who catalogued the artifacts in the bank vault and is curating the exhibition. “We would open up a box and out would come some treasure from the museum’s collections...95 percent of the masterpieces survived intact.” Because of security concerns the artifacts were taken out of Afghanistan without being shown. Then they were exhibited at museums throughout Europe before arriving in the United States in May. The exhibit devotes a room to each of the four major archaeological sites where the treasures were found: Tepe Fullol, AÏ Khanum, Begram, and Tillya Tepe. It will be in Washington, D.C. until September 7; San Francisco October 24–January 25, 2009; Houston February 22–May 17, 2009; and New York June 23–September 20, 2009. REVIEW: Ancient Afghanistan—at the crossroads of major trade routes and the focus of invasions by great powers and nomadic migrations—was home to some of the most complex, rich, and original civilizations on the continent of Asia. This exhibition celebrates the unique role of Afghanistan as a center for both the reception of diverse cultural elements and the creation of original styles of art that combine multiple stylistic materials—such as the Hellenized examples from the second-century B.C. city of Aï Khanum, the array of trade goods found in the first-century city of Begram, and the astonishing nomadic gold found in the hoard at Tillya Tepe, which also dates to the first century. It also commemorates the heroic rescue of the heritage of one of the world's great civilizations, whose precious treasures were thought to have been destroyed. Among the highlights of the exhibition are gold vessels from the Tepe Fullol hoard; superb works and architectural elements from Aï Khanum; Indian-style sculptural masterpieces in ivory, plaster medallions, and Roman glass from Begram; and extraordinary turquoise-encrusted gold jewelry and ornaments from the tombs at Tillya Tepe. Ancient Afghanistan—standing at the crossroads of major trade routes—was home to some of the most complex civilizations of Asia, where multiple artistic influences were intermingled. This exhibition celebrates this rich heritage and commemorates the heroic rescue of the most precious of Afghanistan's archaeological treasures. Among the highlights are spectacular objects unearthed from four sites: gold vessels from the Bronze Age hoard at Tepe Fullol; architectural elements and sculptures from the Hellenistic city of Aï Khanum; extraordinary Indian-style ivories, Roman glass, and other goods traded along the Silk Road, from the first- through second-century site at Begram, and spectacular turquoise-inlaid gold jewelry and luxury objects from the first-century nomadic tombs at Tillya Tepe. This exhibition highlights the amazing rediscovery of Silk Road treasures from Central Asia, thought to have been lost during decades of warfare and turmoil in Afghanistan. These masterpieces of the Kabul Museum collection remained hidden for twenty-five years, thanks to the heroism of the Kabul Museum's staff, who had secretly crated them and placed them in a secure bank vault. It was only in 2004 that the crates were opened to reveal that these works had survived intact. The spectacular arts displayed in these galleries also celebrate the pivotal role played by ancient northern Afghanistan—Bactria in western sources—as a strategic crossroads for trade and cultural exchange between East and West. Its culture reflects contacts with Greece, Iran, Mesopotamia, India, China, and the Eurasian steppes. Bactrian craftsmen absorbed the artistic traditions of these diverse lands and developed their own distinctive style. The works on view span Afghan history from 2200 B.C. to the second century A.D. and come from four archaeological sites: the Bronze Age site of Tepe Fullol; the Greco-Bactrian city of Aï Khanum, founded by the successors of Alexander the Great, who conquered the region in the fourth century B.C.; the major trading settlement of Begram, which flourished at the heart of the Silk Road in the first and second centuries A.D.; and the roughly contemporary necropolis of Tillya Tepe, where a nomadic chieftain and members of his household were buried with thousands of stunning gold objects and ornaments, many inlaid with turquoise and other semiprecious stones. REVIEW: Comparisons are inevitable when you see an exhibition in a second setting. “Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures From the National Museum, Kabul” was moving and illuminating at the National Gallery of Art in Washington in 2008. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the last stop of its four-city American tour, it alternates between sparkling vitality and quiet grandeur. Here this beautiful and important show has more room, and possibly better lighting, resulting in a greater sense of clarity and drama. Not that there hasn’t been more than enough drama. The 200 objects on view, all pre-Islamic, are from around 2200 B.C. to the first or second century A.D. Most recently, they have survived — whether by stealth or luck — nearly three decades of devastation wrought by a civil war, the Soviet-Afghan War and the wrathful, ruinous reign of the Taliban. During this period, many important archaeological sites were destroyed, along with two-thirds of the collection of the National Museum in Kabul, which organized this exhibition with National Geographic. The pieces here include vessels, sculpture, architectural ornaments, jewelry and furniture decoration made in bronze, stone, glass, ceramic, ivory, gold and gemstone. They reflect Afghanistan’s astoundingly layered and diverse cultural heritage, a result of its location on the trade routes known collectively as the Silk Road and sundry invasions and migrations. The show is structured according to three archaeological sites and one messy discovery that were excavated or found in different times from the 1930s to the late 1970s, when the Soviets arrived. The oldest site is represented by only one bronze-age gold bowl and three fragments of another. Discovered in 1966 by farmers (who cut some of them up to share the profits), their Mesopotamian motifs, especially bearded bulls, forced scholars to revise the common understanding of the history of contact between the region and cities far to the west, in what is now Iran. Nearby displays jump forward to the third and second centuries B.C., with artifacts excavated in the late 1930s from the city known as Ai Khanum. They reflect the profound effects of Alexander the Great, who left more Greeks and Macedonians in the region than in any other he conquered. Corinthian capitals, the terra cotta roof decorations known as antefixes (whose leaf-shaped forms and raised decoration could be cookies) and a relief of a graceful male torso all reflect a Hellenic sensibility. Two severe sundials stand out as early exemplars of form following function. A small, vibrant female figurine of carved bone ivory strikes out on her own cultural path, bringing to mind Cycladic, Indian and Coptic art, while standing on a tiny stool. The next two galleries — the show’s heart — display objects from the first century A.D., excavated in the late 1930s and early ’40s from the remains of a structure in the Greco-Bactrian city of Begram. (Begram is just north of present-day Kabul, at the nexus of several trade routes.) The first gallery feels like a United Nations of cultures, with vitrines of small bronze figures of a decidedly Grecian mien, fish-shaped glass flasks in a style favored in Alexandria and simple glass goblets painted with elaborate scenes that could be Syrian, Roman or Egyptian. A row of small, cast plaster reliefs, perhaps used for making silver decorations, are exquisite, especially one depicting a helmeted youth seen in profile, with his back partly turned to us. Even more spectacular is the second Begram gallery, which features only ivory figures and plaques used to embellish furniture. The chief subject here is the voluptuous female, seen in three relatively large sculptures and numerous small reliefs that apparently depict harem scenes, with luxurious garden and architectural settings and, always, a door, provocatively ajar. Most fabulous of all is a worn plaque whose incised lines gracefully describe a musician and dancer. In 145 B.C. nomads swept down from the north and began to wipe out the Greco-Bactrian Empire, starting with Ai Khanum. They brought with them a proclivity for burying their rulers in all things gold: lavish jewelry, weaponry, garments with gold accessories and appliqués. Known as the Bactrian hoard, these objects were discovered in 1978. They show the mingling of Scythian and Chinese motifs as well as the frequent use of what modern viewers call the heart shape, often fashioned from turquoise and set in gold. Laid out according to the five tombs in which they were discovered, the hoard gives this remarkable show a literally blazing finale. My favorite piece remains a shimmering, almost paper-thin gold crown that consists of series of symmetrical treelike diadems cut in silhouettes that include an occasional heart shape and studded with flowers and hung with tiny discs. Carefully study reveals that it can be disassembled to travel flat, should the occasion demand. REVIEW: The history of Afghanistan is bloodied with wars, warlords, invasions and occupations, but as a vital stop along the ancient Silk Road, Afghanistan was also a place where traditions of the East and West met — a crossroads of cultural riches. The National Gallery of Art in Washington is exhibiting some artifacts that have outlasted all the wars and conflicts. The show is a mix of breath-catching beauty, artistry, derring-do and heroism. Exhibit curator Fredrik Hiebert explains that in the midst of the political chaos in the early 1980s, the staff of the Kabul Museum sneaked boxloads of cultural objects away and hid them for more than 20 years. Thousands of precious gold, bronze and glass pieces were transported from the museum to a secret hiding place — a bank vault in the presidential palace just a few miles outside Kabul. "They kept them safe by a code of silence," Hiebert says. If the museum staff had not hidden the ancient objects, the artifacts very likely would not have survived, says Abdul Wasey Feroozi, head of the Society for the Preservation of Afghanistan's Cultural Heritage. "They are real heroes for having the understanding in the 1980s to take these treasures and hide them," Hiebert says. "That's what saved their culture." Traders traveling between China and Rome passed through Afghanistan for centuries, ringing aspects of their cultures with them. Traders left cups, plates and jewelry behind, and Afghan artisans incorporated the designs into their own work. The objects on display at the National Gallery are exquisitely designed, both for everyday use and for special ceremonies. Golden bowls, dating back more than 4,000 years, are the oldest artifacts in the exhibition. "It's really unusual to find ancient gold," Hiebert says. "Gold itself doesn't rust, doesn't deteriorate, so people tend to take old gold and melt it down." One of the most impressive pieces in the show is a golden crown from the first century B.C., found in the tomb of a well-fixed lady nomad. It was unearthed by Russian archaeologist Viktor Sarianidi in the late 1970s near the dividing line between Afghanistan and the former Soviet Union. Sarianidi had a moment of panic when he couldn't find the precious artifact in his tent at the excavation site. "Viktor went crazy," Hiebert remembers. "It turns out that this particular crown is a distinctive crown of nomads; it's a collapsible crown. It's made out of six separate pieces. Five pieces on top are shaped like trees, and they can be taken off and the bottom part folded up and placed in a package so the ancient nomad could gallop away. Well, one of his assistants had taken the crown apart, folded it up, and it was still in the tent." It is not known how often the nomad woman wore her collapsible golden crown, but Hiebert says that Afghanistan's ancient herders used their gold objects all the time. "They wore them day in and day out ... you can see the signs of wear," Hiebert says. "The definition of a nomad is someone who doesn't have a house. If they don't have a house, then they don't have banks. You are looking at the nomadic banking system. They are literally wearing their wealth." Looking at the golden crown, the turquoise-studded jewelry — necklaces, bracelets, rings, even the clasps that held their clothing together — it's clear, Hiebert says, that these first-century nomads were a people with a clear sense of self and a deep appreciation for beauty. In the harsh, brutal landscape of central Asia, beauty was either created or carried through by the Romans, Indians, Greeks, Chinese and others who plied the Silk Road many centuries ago. "Every time that people went through or invaded Afghanistan they left a little bit of themselves," Hiebert says. The National Museum of Afghanistan has the motto, "A Nation Stays Alive When Its Culture Stays Alive." In these days of Afghan tensions, the hidden treasures from Kabul's National Museum may find more tranquillity here than they would at home. REVIEW: Art objects inspire many reactions, perhaps most crucially acts of preservation or destruction. From 1979 to late 2001, destruction had the upper hand in Afghanistan. The Soviet-Afghan war, the ensuing civil war and finally the pernicious rule of the Taliban inflicted incalculable losses on active archaeological sites and ancient monuments and artworks. In March 2001 the world watched helplessly as the Taliban blew up the two giant Buddhas carved from existing rock that had faced each other across the Bamiyan Valley for 1,500 years. The progressive destruction of the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul was less blatant but equally tragic. Its collection of 100,000 artworks and artifacts — one of the finest in Asia — spanned several millenniums of Afghanistan’s rich, multicultural history. The museum suffered looting, bombing, fire; the Taliban ordered destruction of all depictions of the human figure. By the time they were driven from power in November 2001, the Kabul museum had lost two-thirds of its collection. (Since then the museum has been safe, although looting continues outside Kabul.) But isolated acts of preservation and some lucky circumstances also prevailed. In 1988 a small group of the Kabul museum’s staff hid crates packed with about 600 of its most precious artworks in the vault of the presidential palace. No one was sure how these crates had fared until 2004, when they were retrieved with their contents intact. Around 200 of these works are in “Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures From the National Museum, Kabul,” at the National Gallery of Art here. At once revelatory and heart-rending, this show, making a four-city American tour, has much to tell about Afghanistan, past and present. The objects in the exhibition date from 2200 B.C. to around the second century A.D., that is, from the Bronze Age to the height of the Kushan Empire, which reached nearly across Asia and deep into the Indian subcontinent. Included are Indian ivories, Roman-Egyptian glass vessels, Greek and Greco-Bactrian bronzes and carved stone, as well as a trove known as the golden hoard of Bactria, an ancient empire in northern Afghanistan. The combination offers a picture of Afghan cosmopolitanism, which was fed by the trade routes of the Silk Road, and the ethnic diversity resulting from invasions and peaceful migrations alike. Structured to focus on four important excavation sites, this show is the latest phase in a close working relationship between the National Geographic Society and the Kabul museum. It has been organized by the society in collaboration with the National Gallery and overseen by Fredrik Hiebert, a National Geographic Society fellow. It begins and ends with gold objects separated by more than two millenniums. The first group consists of three rare Bronze Age gold bowls, one intact and fragments of two others. They were found in 1972 at a single site, Tepe Fullol, in northeastern Afghanistan, but their very different styles reflect influences from across Asia. The designs on the intact bowl are abstract, a square divided by an X; each quadrant contains a stepped square found on artifacts from Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. One bowl fragment is strictly local, with motifs of a wild boar, trees and mountains. The other fragment features a majestic bearded bull, an image common to Mesopotamia, 1,200 miles to the west. Subsequent displays contain objects from the Greco-Bactrian city of Ai Khanum, founded in 300 B.C. by a follower of Alexander the Great and excavated by French archaeologists from 1964 to 1978. (Destined for Kabul’s Institute of Archaeology, which was completely destroyed, these finds survived, unnoticed, in crates that never got farther than the Ministry of Information and Culture in Kabul.) This gallery contains two leafy Corinthian capitals; lidded, partitioned bowls (for unguents and perfumes); and a full-length statue of a man named Stratos who grasps the folds of his robe in one hand, a gesture that might have influenced centuries of statues of Buddhist sculptures. The showstopper in this section is a large ceremonial plaque in silver and gold from the third century B.C. that might have been part of Alexander’s entourage. It represents Cybele, the Greek goddess of nature, riding in a chariot driven by the winged goddess Nike, seen in profile. Their high, lion-drawn chariot seems Syrian, but the naturalism of the figures is largely Greek. This naturalism is at its best in the priest who walks behind the chariot, carrying a large parasol. He leans back with his head tilted up — making sure the deities are properly shaded — in a pose that has the alert springiness of a circus juggler. Also marvelous: the gold rocks and incised flowers underfoot. This show is, in a sense, a bundle of good news that only gets better. The largest and most diverse gallery contains objects found in two sealed rooms in the ancient ruins of Begram in the late 1930s. Whether they represent a king’s treasure or a merchant’s stock has not been determined, but the loveliness of many of the Greco-Roman bronzes (a small, youthful head of Silenus that could be from the Renaissance); the Egyptian-Roman glass (clear, opaque, painted, elaborately fretted); and the turned porphyry vessels is beyond dispute. Best of all, these displays attest to the survival of nearly all the Kabul museum’s revered Begram ivories. Whether made in India or locally, these small reliefs, used to decorate furniture, are exquisite. Deeply carved, they resemble gods and goddesses of Hindu temple sculpture. But the scenes here are miniature and worldly, dominated by curvaceous women unaccompanied by men (or gods); they enjoy one another’s company — sharing gossip, jokes or maybe wine — among elaborately carved archways and grills, and surrounded by opulent plants in gardens whose gates are left tantalizingly ajar. If gold is your thing, the show’s final galleries will be your idea of heaven. These contain the extraordinary jewelry, weapons, coins and clothing ornaments found in six royal graves (of five princesses and one prince) dating from the first century A.D. They were discovered in 1978 by an Afghan-Soviet archaeological team led by Viktor Sarianidi at Tillya Tepe in Bactria and hurriedly excavated in the months before the Soviet invasion. All the objects here are thought to have been made in a single Bactrian workshop and bespeak a culture that, like the Mongols’, wore its wealth, mostly sewn onto clothing in appliqués small and large, single or lavishly repeated, abstract and figurative. The most elaborate bow to mobility is an ingenious crown with five points — each a cut-out tree motif dangling scores of tiny gold, leaflike discs — that can be taken apart quickly and packed flat. Some of the pieces show a blending of cultural influences like nothing else in the exhibition. A small solid-gold Aphrodite that was once decorated with little pine-nut pieces of turquoise has a Greek “Winged Victory” drape, sickle-shaped wings and an Indian beauty mark, as well as a soft, rounded face; slightly saucy pose; and squat body that abandons the Greek ideal of female beauty for something more subcontinental. She might almost have danced straight out of a Bollywood movie poster. Often, in the cosseted quarters of a museum, we forget that every work of ancient art is a survivor, a representative of untold numbers of similar artworks that perished. This triumphant exhibition makes us remember, while demonstrating that every survivor saves much more than just itself: long strands of culture, identity and history waiting to be woven back together. REVIEW: Ask Americans about their perceptions of Afghanistan, and they'll likely point to images of drug-trafficking, religious extremism, and war. The organizers of a new exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art are hoping to change that. Ancient Afghanistan was home to highly developed civilizations with distinctive styles of art. Located at the crossroad of major trade routes, Afghanistan through the centuries was host to invaders and nomads, all of whom left their mark on the country's cultural map. The exhibition in New York -- titled "Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures From The National Museum, Kabul" -- presents a selection of works from four archaeological sites. Highlights include gold vessels from the Bronze Age; architectural elements from the Hellenistic city of Ai-Khanum; ivory sculptures, bronzes, and Roman glass from the city of Bagram; and turquoise-encrusted gold jewelry from the nomadic tombs at Tillya Tepe in northern Afghanistan. Most of the items on display had been in the collection of the Afghan National Museum in Kabul but were kept hidden in Afghanistan during the country's quarter-century of fighting between 1978 and 2003. During that time, many art lovers inside and outside the country had become convinced they had been sold abroad or destroyed by the Taliban. In fact, they had been placed in crates and stored in the basements of several buildings in central Kabul, including the presidential palace. Even when the Taliban was ousted in 2001, says exhibit curator Fredrik Hiebert, it took museum officials more than two years to feel trusting enough of the new Afghan government to reveal that the artifacts were safe. “The artifacts, the treasures, of the Kabul Museum had been hidden in safe places in Kabul," Hiebert said. "Every time there was a rumor about these artifacts being sold or disappearing somewhere, [museum officials] never said anything. They never said 'yes' or 'no.' And that saved the treasures. "So finally, in 2003 when they were ready to say, 'Yes, we have them,' it was a surprise to everybody -- the whole world.” Not all Afghan artifacts have been that lucky. In 2008, the International Council of Museums published a "red list" of Afghanistan antiquities at risk -- artifacts from the country's pre-Islamic and Islamic periods that have been lost or stolen. Police in Europe have been on high alert since 2004, when up to four tons of antiquities from Afghanistan were seized in illegal shipments. According to some reports, plundering from archaeological sites in Afghanistan has exceeded that in Iraq, and has often been violent. Police officers guarding archaeological sites have sometimes been murdered. Said Tayeb Jawad, Afghanistan's ambassador to the United States, says he has been actively involved in the process of recovering a number of his country's stolen artifacts. "It is our first priority to have these items in the museum in Afghanistan," Jawad says. "But until we have the security that is needed in order to display these things, I don’t mind if they are displayed in a museum in London or Moscow or in Paris, so the rest of the world can see them and it’s clearly labeled as an item from Afghanistan. What I am more concerned about is when they end up in a vault of a personal collector and nobody sees them.” Jawad says that during the Taliban's five-year rule, many priceless artifacts ended up in Pakistan. “In the past, especially during the [rule of the] Taliban and others, some high-ranking officials of the Pakistan government -- including Army General [Nasseerullah] Babar -- were involved in collecting and purchasing these things," Jawad says. "In fact, sometimes they would send people in with clear instructions on what item to look for and to take out [of the country]. "But this kind of looting unfortunately takes place inside Pakistan, too. The same criminals have been doing it in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.” Hiebert says the current New York exhibit is just the beginning of a five-year sponsorship program aimed at tracking down and returning stolen artifacts, and improving security in the National Museum in Kabul. An important goal, he says, is to train the local Kabul staff in museum administration and art preservation. “Training, training for the Afghans. Can you imagine a museum that’s been closed for 25 years?" Hiebert asks. "The museum director didn’t have access to any of his colleagues. The curators didn’t have anything to curate. The photographers didn’t have any objects to photograph. "So now our job is very serious. We have to help build the capacity in Afghanistan so that they can show these artifacts to the most important group -- Afghans and Afghanistan itself.” REVIEW: Extraordinary artifacts uncovered in modern-day Afghanistan—once the heart of the Silk Road linking cultures from Asia to the Mediterranean—long thought stolen or destroyed during some 25 years of conflict until the dramatic announcement of their existence in 2003, begin their United States tour at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, May 25 through September 7, 2008. The exhibition, co-organized by the National Geographic Society and the National Gallery of Art, will travel to the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, October 24, 2008 through January 25, 2009; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, February 22 through May 17, 2009; and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, June 23 through September 20, 2009. After its tour through Paris, Turin, and Amsterdam, the show was reorganized for the United States and accompanied by a new catalogue and a video documentary produced by National Geographic and narrated by the celebrated author, Khaled Hosseini. Revealing Afghanistan’s multicultural heritage are some 228 objects ranging in date from 2200 BC to the second century AD. Drawn from four archaeological sites, they belong to the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul and include fragmentary gold bowls with artistic links to Mesopotamia and Indus valley cultures (modern-day Pakistan) from the Bronze Age site of Tepe Fullol; bronze and stone sculptures and a gilded silver plaque from the former Greek colony at Aï Khanum (“Lady Moon”); bronzes, ivories, and painted glassware that had been imported from Roman Egypt, China, and India, and excavated from ancient storerooms discovered in the 1930s and 1940s in Begram; and more than 100 gold ornaments from the “Bactrian Hoard,” found in 1978 in Tillya Tepe, the site of six nomad graves, and revealing a synthesis of Greek, Roman, Persian, Indian, Chinese, and Siberian styles. The exhibition will begin with a new map of modern Afghanistan created by National Geographic, which highlights the four archaeological sites featured in the show. Specially commissioned maps will be on display throughout the exhibition, including one that illustrates more than 1,500 archaeological sites, known to be in Afghanistan, which range in date from the prehistoric era through the 17th century. The exhibition is organized by site, beginning with objects from Tepe Fullol in northern Afghanistan. In 1966, farmers near the Afghan village of Fullol discovered the first evidence of a Bronze Age civilization in the region. Gold from the nearby Oxus riverbed most likely provided the gold for several bowls—part of a burial cache—found at the site, including a fragment of a bowl depicting bearded bulls from 2200 to 1900 BC. The second group of artifacts, from the site of the former Greek city Aï Khanum in a region that was conquered by Alexander the Great, reflects the Mediterranean influence in the area between the fourth and second centuries BC. The works include Corinthian capitals from before 145 BC, similar to one shown to the late Afghan King Zahir Shah in 1961, which led to the discovery of the site of Aï Khanum. They also include bronze and ivory sculptures representing Greek figures, as well as images of Central Asian figures carved in a Hellenistic style. The oldest artifact found is a ceremonial plaque made of gilded silver depicting Cybele, the Greek goddess of nature presiding within an orderly cosmos. There will be a digital reconstruction of the city of Aï Khanum as well as a site map. Items of trade from the third site, at Begram, date from between the first and second centuries AD. Elaborately carved Indian ivory reliefs and figurines used as decorative elements on furniture will be digitally reconstructed and shown on a monitor in the gallery with a site map of Begram. A painted goblet depicting figures harvesting dates and a bronze mask of Silenus are just a few of the artifacts discovered that shed light on the role of Afghanistan in the network of trade along the Silk Road. The fourth group consists of some 100 gold objects dating from the first century BC to the first century AD, they were among those discovered in 1978 by a Soviet-Afghan team led by Viktor Sarianidi at Tillya Tepe in northern Afghanistan. The site contained jewelry and gold ornaments from the graves of six nomads who overran Bactria in about145 BC and brought an end to the Greco-Bactrian kingdoms that had flourished there. The graves contained thousands of gold objects sewn onto the burial shrouds and clothing of the deceased. On view will be an exquisite crown, as well as necklaces, belts, rings, and headdresses—most made of solid gold with insets of semiprecious stones such as turquoise and garnets. Many of the Bactrian objects reflect local artisans’ distinctive blend of motifs known from Greek, Roman, Indian, and Chinese art. A remarkable catalogue is published by National Geographic Books. The fully illustrated, 304-page catalogue is edited by Fredrik Hiebert, exhibition curator and National Geographic Archaeology Fellow, and Pierre Cambon, scientific researcher, Laboratoire d’archéologie, ENS Ulm-CNRS,Paris. REVIEW: In Aï Khanum, archeologists uncovered an entire Greek town. In Begram, thousands of coins and two rooms sealed for more than two millennia were found. In Tillya Tepe the graves of a royal nomadic family were discovered, with more than 20.000 gold, silver and ivory objects. Many of these object vanished from the National museum in Kabul at the end of the 1980s. Fortunately, the objects weren't stolen or melted, as the rumors claimed. They were hidden by a select group of people sworn to secrecy. Throughout the civil war and Taliban rule, they kept their secret. It wasn't until 2003, after the American led allied invasion, that the chests in the vaults resurfaced and were finally opened in 2004. A total of 230 objects from this rich mosaic of Afghanistan's and the world's heritage will be on display in Trondheim. Almost two thousand years separate the oldest object from the youngest in the exhibition, which includes golden treasure, ivory carvings, glass figurines and bronze statuettes. REVIEW: A remarkable exhibition of stunning artifacts revealing Afghanistan’s rich culture. Afghanistan was at the heart of the Silk Road, the trading route travelled by Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and Marco Polo, linking ancient Iran, Central Asia, India and China, and the more distant cultures of Greece and Rome. This exhibition – with more than 230 priceless treasures, some thousands of years old – offers a rare opportunity to discover the surprising, untold story of the long and extraordinarily rich culture that is Afghanistan. For years these artefacts were thought lost or destroyed as war and instability shook the country. In 2003 they were uncovered from vaults in the central bank of the presidential palace, where they had been placed in secrecy by a few courageous staff from the National Museum, Kabul. Discover stories of bravery that protected these precious artefacts of gold, bronze and stone sculptures, ivories, painted glassware and other ancient works of art. REVIEW: Thanks to an effective integration of text and image, the book can stand alone, whereas the exhibition really does not. Museum visitors who want to experience more than a visceral gold rush must read the book to appreciate the artifacts, which come from very disparate archaeological contexts stretching from about 2200 B.C. to the first century A.D. The connections between a hoard of Bronze Age bowls, a Greek colonial city, six nomads' graves and an anonymous merchant's warehouse are not self-evident. [American Scientist]. REVIEW: Ancient Afghanistan-at the crossroads of major trade routes and the focus of invasions by great powers and nomadic migrations-was home to one of the most complex, rich, and original civilizations on the continent of Asia. This exhibition will celebrate the unique role of Afghanistan as a center for both the reception of diverse cultural elements and the creation of original styles of art-extending from the Bronze Age into the Kushan period. It will also commemorate the heroic rescue of the heritage of one of the world's great civilizations, whose precious treasures were thought to have been destroyed. Among the highlights of the exhibition will be gold vessels from the Khosh Tapa hoard; superb works and architectural elements from Ai Khanoum; extraordinary turquoise-encrusted gold jewelry and ornaments from the tombs at Tillya Tepe; and sculptural masterpieces in ivory, plaster medallions, and Roman glass from Begram. READER REVIEWS: REVIEW: This is a rich and beautiful document, illustrating not only the rich history of early Afghanistan, but the tragedy of the consequences of the Russian invasion and the war with the Taliban. Many years ago, I first read of the many treasures found in the National Geographic magazine. Subsequent to this, it was suggested that these pieces had all disappeared, suspected destroyed in the Russian invasion and subsequent Taliban attacks. The exhibit that this catalogue accompanies, came to North America in 2009, and is the result of some very brave men and women who hid the moveable treasures in a variety of undisclosed locations in Afghanistan, not discussing or telling anyone that the artifacts still existed. Once opened and revealed to the world, the decision was made to send many of the saved pieces out of Afghanistan, to travel from Museum to Museum, until it was deemed safe to bring the artifacts home. REVIEW: The most moving thing about this book is the heroic work of museum staff and others to preserve many of these treasures from the general predations of decades of war and the particular iconoclastic rage of the Taliban. Some of these objects have lain hidden behind walls and in basements for years like something out of a adventure movie. People who were paid pitiful wages or nothing risked their lives and risked torture kept their mouths closed to preserve their cultural heritage. It is truly inspiring. The most intriguing thing about this book is the witness it bears to hundreds of years of syncretism in the area of what we now call Afghanistan. We see dozens of examples like, say, figures bearing the iconography of Dionysus and the round faces and slanted eyes of the steppes, or vice versa, or Hercules' club beside a Buddhist lotus. There is something truly inspiring about the creativity engendered by the melting of Roman, Greek, Parthian, Bactrian, Kushan, Gandaharan, Mauryan, and other cultures that manifests in these objects. The illustrations are excellent. REVIEW: In a time when Afghanistan is seen as nothing more than a breeding ground for violence and terrorism, this book evokes a great sense of sympathy and wonder at the nation's fate. We often forget, or simply do not realize, that Afghanistan has a rich and varied culture and history. To read the lines and see the images of a now forgotten interwoven sense of culture and history is astonishing - but even more so are the stories of the individuals and organizations responsible for the excavation and safekeeping of these treasures, both literal and metaphorical. REVIEW: I recently visited the Beijing version of this exhibition. Though artifacts are wonderful, there is little information provided in the exhibition. This catalogue provides useful info. However, more research on artifacts are needed. Take the blue glass excavated in Begram as an example, there is little research included on its materials, craftsmanship and destination. Info of the kind can be found in Cornwall Museum's publication. On the whole, it is a useful reference. REVIEW: I wasn't able to see the exhibit this book is based on, but the book is worth getting for the pictures alone. The story of the various museum employees working to save as many of the artifacts from the Taliban as they could and suffering for doing so is both exciting and chilling. I use this story (and the ones of various people acting to save national treasures in Iraq and Egypt) to emphasize to my ancient history students that history is not just dates and pretty pictures. REVIEW: A beautiful book on the marvelous rich treasurers of this incredible nation. Makes you realize what an incredibly rich nation, and historical nation this truly is. We should NOT be hearing or seeing this nation ripped to bits! As a fabulous culture, and a historical part of the stories of the "Silk Road", we should do everything we can to help restore and reestablish this nation to its roots! This book is fantastic to display a bit of this understanding. REVIEW: Wonderful book! When I received it, I didn’t expect to see such great thing. Excellent explanations about the history and about the present situation with the culture in Afghanistan. Pictures are wonderful. I enjoy this book! REVIEW: I was so pleased when I received this. This is a truly fabulous book, and I will spend hours browsing over the beauties in this book. Many of these items may have already been destroyed by the Taliban, so it is wonderful to have a pictorial record of these beautiful items. REVIEW: This book is a gem. Every time I deliver my talk about Afghanistan some people would like to buy it off me .This is my third purchase. REVIEW: Sumptuous. Breathtaking photos of such beautiful jewellery and very informative essays. REVIEW: Five stars! Nicely laid out, good research and back ground text. Great photos! REVIEW: Beautifully illustrated of the exhibit I saw at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. REVIEW: Five stars. Wonderful book, lots of history, beautiful pictures. REVIEW: Have shown it to Afghanis, and many were surprised. Pictures very beautiful. I always ship books Media Mail in a padded mailer. This book is shipped FOR FREE via USPS INSURED media mail (“book rate”). All domestic shipments and most international shipments will include free USPS Delivery Confirmation (you might be able to update the status of your shipment on-line at the USPS Web Site) and free insurance coverage. A small percentage of international shipments may require an additional fee for tracking and/or delivery confirmation. If you are concerned about a little wear and tear to the book in transit, I would suggest a boxed shipment - it is an extra $1.00. Whether via padded mailer or box, we will give discounts for multiple purchases. International orders are welcome, but shipping costs are substantially higher. Most international orders cost an additional $9.99 to $37.99 for an insured shipment in a heavily padded mailer, and typically includes some form of rudimentary tracking and/or delivery confirmation (though for some countries, this is only available at additional cost). However this book is quite heavy, and it is too large to fit into a flat rate mailer. Therefore the shipping costs are somewhat higher than what is otherwise ordinary. There is a discount program which can cut postage costs by 50% to 75% if you’re buying about half-a-dozen books or more (5 kilos+). Rates and available services vary a bit from country to country. You can email or message me for a shipping cost quote, but I assure you they are as reasonable as USPS rates allow, and if it turns out the rate is too high for your pocketbook, we will cancel the sale at your request. ADDITIONAL PURCHASES do receive a VERY LARGE discount, typically about $5 per book (for each additional book after the first) so as to reward you for the economies of combined shipping/insurance costs. Your purchase will ordinarily be shipped within 48 hours of payment. We package as well as anyone in the business, with lots of protective padding and containers. All of our shipments are sent via insured mail so as to comply with PayPal requirements. We do NOT recommend uninsured shipments, and expressly disclaim any responsibility for the loss of an uninsured shipment. Unfortunately the contents of parcels are easily “lost” or misdelivered by postal employees – even in the USA. That’s why all of our domestic shipments (and most international) shipments include a USPS delivery confirmation tag; or are trackable or traceable, and all shipments (international and domestic) are insured. We do offer U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail, Registered Mail, and Express Mail for both international and domestic shipments, as well United Parcel Service (UPS) and Federal Express (Fed-Ex). Please ask for a rate quotation. We will accept whatever payment method you are most comfortable with. If upon receipt of the item you are disappointed for any reason whatever, I offer a no questions asked return policy. Send it back, I will give you a complete refund of the purchase price (less our original shipping costs). Most of the items I offer come from the collection of a family friend who was active in the field of Archaeology for over forty years. However many of the items also come from purchases I make in Eastern Europe, India, and from the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean/Near East) from various institutions and dealers. Though I have always had an interest in archaeology, my own academic background was in sociology and cultural anthropology. After my retirement however, I found myself drawn to archaeology as well. Aside from my own personal collection, I have made extensive and frequent additions of my own via purchases on Ebay (of course), as well as many purchases from both dealers and institutions throughout the world - but especially in the Near East and in Eastern Europe. I spend over half of my year out of the United States, and have spent much of my life either in India or Eastern Europe. In fact much of what we generate on Yahoo, Amazon and Ebay goes to support The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, as well as some other worthy institutions in Europe connected with Anthropology and Archaeology. I acquire some small but interesting collections overseas from time-to-time, and have as well some duplicate items within my own collection which I occasionally decide to part with. Though I have a collection of ancient coins numbering in the tens of thousands, my primary interest is in ancient jewelry. My wife also is an active participant in the "business" of antique and ancient jewelry, and is from Russia. I would be happy to provide you with a certificate/guarantee of authenticity for any item you purchase from me. There is a $2 fee for mailing under separate cover. Whenever I am overseas I have made arrangements for purchases to be shipped out via domestic mail. If I am in the field, you may have to wait for a week or two for a COA to arrive via international air mail. But you can be sure your purchase will arrive properly packaged and promptly - even if I am absent. And when I am in a remote field location with merely a notebook computer, at times I am not able to access my email for a day or two, so be patient, I will always respond to every email. Please see our "ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SALE." Condition: NEW. See detailed description below., Material: Paper, Provenance: Ancient Steppes Afghanistan, Publisher: National Geographic (2008), Format: Oversized softcover, Length: 304 pages, Size: 10 x 10 x 1 inch; 3 3/4 pounds

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