Saturday, 12 February 2011

Travel the Silk Road exhibition in Asia

Opening show at ArtScience Museum at ArtScience Museum in Marina Bay Sands in Singapore organized by American Museum of Natural History.

Singapore (1 February, 2011) Embark on an amazing journey on the greatest trading route known to man – the Silk Road – when Traveling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathway to the Modern World opens at ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands in February. Organized by the American Museum of Natural History and making its debut in Asia, this exhibition recreates the ancient cities of Asia and the Middle East between AD 600 and 1200.

Occupying approximately 1,500 square meters, this interactive exhibition will literally immerse visitors in the sights, sounds and even smells of the bustling marketplaces in Asia and the Middle East. Visitors will observe silk worms spinning cocoons in Xi’an, the imperial capital of the Tang; “walk” through the raucous night market of Turfan and survey the feathers, furs and spices on display; explore the ancient crafts of papermaking and glassblowing in Samarkand; and finally conclude their travels in Baghdad which was a hub of commerce and scholarship at the time. They will be greeted by life-sized camel models decked out in full caravan regalia, unravel the once carefully guarded secrets of sericulture that was behind the lucrative Chinese silk trade, witness first-hand a massive construction of a Tang-era loom, and engage the senses with the fragrances, flavors and wares of a bygone era.

Mr. Tom Zaller, Director, ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, said, “Visitors from Singapore and around the world, young and old, will enjoy this highly interactive exhibition. From silk-making, to the ancient crafts of papermaking and glassblowing, the universal themes of art and science are integral in the life and times of the people who lived in and travelled to these ancient cities. Equivalent to the ‘information highway’ of that time, the Silk Road was a significant factor in the transfer of knowledge in art, technology and commerce that led to the development of the world’s greatest civilizations.”

“The Silk Road was not a single road but an interconnected system of trade routes – like little truck stops. Someone would go from one populated area to another, offload their goods; those would be bargained and exchanged, and then would make a further journey with someone else,” said Mr. Mark Norell, Chairman and Curator-in-Charge of the Division of Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History. “No single person traveled the entire extent of the Silk Road. However, trade goods did. And more importantly, ideas associated with those trade goods did. Certainly, we can trace the spread of religion and spread of social trends to the goods…that moved along the Silk Road.”

Collectively known as the "Silk Road", the Silk Routes were crucial paths for cultural, commercial and technological exchange between traders, merchants, soldiers and nomads from Ancient China, India, Tibet, Persia and Mediterranean countries a millennium ago. It gets its name from the Chinese silk trade, which plied the 10,000-kilometer route. The Silk Road enabled people to transport goods, slaves and luxuries such as silk and other fine fabrics, perfumes, spices, medicines, jewels, glassware and especially knowledge between East, Central and Western Asia, and the Mediterranean.

Visitors will get to use a working model of an ancient astrolabe; view a replica of a Tibetan Buddhist sutra, or religious manuscript, made of exquisite silk; and get up close to a rubbing from a section of the more than 1,200-year-old Nestorian stele, which is an engraved stone pillar erected in Xi’an in 781 still standing today. Other highlights will be a two-foot-tall working model of a water clock designed by Islamic engineers 800 years ago and a 120-foot long mural – one of the largest ever painted for a museum travelling exhibition. Young visitors will have fun collecting stamps in a “passport” while on their Silk Road adventures, and enjoy computer-animated books that bring to life timeless tales told by Silk Road travelers.

Traveling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathway to the Modern World will be on show from February 17 to March 27, 2011. The exhibition is curated by Mark Norell, Chairman and Curator-in-Charge of the Division of Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History, with guest co-curator William Honeychurch, an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at Yale University, with consultant Denise Leidy, curator of the Department of Asian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The world’s first ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands will be unveiled to the world on the auspicious date and time of 17 February 2011 at 3.18pm. Boasting an iconic lotus-inspired design, the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands is set to become the heart of the growing ArtScience movement as well as the premier venue for major international touring exhibitions from the most renowned collections in the world. Featuring 21 gallery spaces totaling 50,000 square feet, the latest addition to Marina Bay Sands will deliver an impressive array of exhibits that embrace a spectrum of influences from art and science, media and technology, to design and architecture.

In addition to Traveling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathway to the Modern World, opening shows at ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands include Genghis Khan: The Exhibition and the Museum’s showpiece exhibition, ArtScience: A Journey Through Creativity.

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