Mediterranean Treasures of Cyprus uncovered at the Smithsonian

Posted on 2010/09/15 by

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Precious and historic artifacts to go on exhibit at the Smithsonian in Washington

Byzantine Wine Artifacts11,000 year history distilled into an exhibition with more than 200 Artifacts to be on view for the first time in the United States and a heritage borne out from its own distinctive history and culture.

The exhibition is presented on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Cyprus.The exhibition will feature more than 200 artifacts—covering nearly 11,000 years of history—which range from items from the earliest villages to masterpieces of medieval religious art, and give an overview of the island’s unique culture.
Among the objects on display will be for the first time in this country:

  •  A pygmy hippopotamus skull (10,000 to 8,500 B.C.)
  • Gold jewelry and sphinx sculptures from the Cypro-Archaic period (750 to 480 B.C.)
  • Vases, bowls and sculptures, including an Aphrodite marble, from the Hellenistic (325 to 50 B.C.) and Roman (50 B.C. to A.D. 330) periods
  • Bronze and copper items, including lamps and jugs, from the Byzantine period (330 to 1191)
  • Religious icons, paintings and vases from the medieval period (13th to 16th century)
  • Section for children will also have the chance to try on traditional Cypriot costumes and play Cypriot games, such as skipping rope and marbles.
  • The exhibition also will feature nearly 100 coins from different eras in Cypriot history, starting from the Hellenistic period through the Venetian period.

The exhibition takes place at the initiative of Cyprus’ Ambassador to the US Andreas Kakouris and representatives of the Smithsonian who visited Cyprus in October 2009 to inspect all artefacts to be displayed. The Smithsonian has incorporated Cyprus in its travel programmes, in line with the normal practice of the museum. The Museum of Natural History, in cooperation with Cyprus, will organise various events and educational programmes to promote the exhibition and Cyprus to the public at large and to children as well.

The effort and exhibition was made possible by the Cyprus Department of Antiquities, the Cultural Foundation of the Bank of Cyprus, the Byzantine Museum of the Archbishop Makarios III Foundation, the Holy Bishopric of Morfou, the Pierides Marfin Bank Museum, the Thalassa Museum of the Municipality of Agia Napa and the National Museum of Natural History.

“Cyprus: Crossroads of Civilizations” will be on view at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History from Sept. 29 through May 1, 2011. The formal opening of the exhibition will take place on September 28 and will inaugurated by the President of Cyprus Republic, Demetris Christofias

‘Cyprus: Crossroads of Civilizations’ to Open at Smithsonian in September

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