Dive into the rich tapestry of cultural history and mutual exchange along the ancient Silk Road in the newly inaugurated exhibition at the Palace Museum in Beijing. Titled “Thriving in a Collaborative World: ‘Belt and Road’ Cooperation in Cultural Heritage and Archaeology,” this showcase commemorates a significant milestone: the 10th anniversary of the visionary China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
A harmonious amalgamation of the old and the new, the exhibition parades an impressive collection of 84 artifacts, carefully curated and sourced from an international assembly. Contributions come from esteemed cultural institutions in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and the UAE, enriched further by 13 collection units spanning 10 diverse provinces and regions within China.
The exhibition is meticulously divided into four thematic sections, each narrating a unique chapter of history and collaboration. One of the most anticipated segments prominently features newly discovered Chinese artifacts from the past decade, notably the tri-colored pottery cups hailing from the illustrious Tang Dynasty (618-907) and intricately designed panels from stone funeral beds. These treasures, having made their return journey from the US earlier this year, now find their place of pride at the Palace Museum. Alongside these, visitors can marvel at the shimmering gold medals originating from the vast Central Asian grasslands, exquisite stone sculptures echoing tales from the Fergana Basin, and delicate blue and white porcelain artifacts reminiscent of the Arabian Peninsula’s grandeur. The exhibition offers a golden opportunity for many as several of these relics are being showcased to the public eye for the very first time.
The driving force behind this grand exposition is a mission to illuminate the interwoven narratives of cultural exchange and shared learnings that blossomed along the ancient Silk Road. It stands testament to the monumental achievements accomplished through collaborative archaeological research, projection, and restoration efforts between China and partnering nations.
Eloquent presentations from cultural heritage research institutions across China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and the UAE further highlight the harmonious dialogue among civilizations that once thrived along these ancient trade pathways.
Saida Mirziyoyeva, in her role as the assistant to the President of Uzbekistan, eloquently voiced her insights during the opening ceremony. She reflected on the time-honored Silk Road legacy, where nations fostered economic and cultural symbiosis rooted in cooperation and equality. The artifacts contributed by Uzbekistan for this exhibition, she pointed out, beautifully encapsulate the Silk Road’s evolutionary journey in aesthetics and craftsmanship.
Highlighting China’s commitment to preserving global cultural heritage, Hu Heping, Minister of Culture and Tourism, shared that China had spearheaded 44 cooperative archaeological projects with 24 countries in the last decade alone. Furthermore, China has been an active participant in 11 international historical monument conservation programs across six countries.
For those eager to embark on this enlightening journey through time and cultural harmony, the exhibition awaits at the Shenwu Gate Exhibition Hall of the Palace Museum, where it will continue to enchant visitors until January 5, 2024.