A Oriente. Città, Uomini e Dei sulle Vie della Seta
To the Orient. Cities, Men and Gods along the Silk Roads
Exhibition in the National Roman Museum - Baths of Diocletian
From 21/10/2011 - 05/02/2012
ROME, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- An international cultural event dedicated to the Silk Road's legendary cities and artistic treasures kicked off here Thursday to celebrate the historical links and friendship between the East and the West.
The biennial event, at its first edition, consists of 11 successive exhibitions of the multifarious artistic heritages from the historical towns dotted the Silk Road, a cross road of merchants, cultures, perfumes and mysteries.
This year's opening exposition, titled "Towards Orient: men, cities and gods on the way of the Silk Roads," was dedicated to efforts to blend the Christianity, Buddhism and Islam traditions.
It features a total of 100 artistic items, many of which come from the Chinese region of Xinjiang, ranging from statues to silvery.
The exhibits also included some precious silk pieces, such as the so-called Marco Polo bible. A well-kept 16th century Mongol map of 30 meters in length was displayed to the public for the first time.
The inauguration press conference of the opening exposition held on Thursday was attended by some Italian and Chinese officials as well as experts, including the Chinese ambassador in Italy Ding Wei and Italian Secretary of State Stefania Craxi.
Craxi expressed a hope that the artistic reconstruction of the Silk Road may lead to new, enhanced trade between the East and the West.
By hosing the biennial event, Italy was once again playing a central role in bridging stronger ties between Asia and Europe, she added.
Meanwhile, Mario Resca, a high-level official of Italy's Culture Ministry, recalling Italy's deep links to China through the contribution across centuries of key figures including Matteo Ricci and Marco Polo, stressed that "culture is an important instrument for boosting mutual knowledge, peace and bilateral ties."
The opening exposition, which will be running up to Feb. 26, is jointly sponsored by the Italian, Chinese Culture Ministries and is part of the Chinese Culture Year in Italy.
Other expositions of the biennale to follow include the "Fascination of Beijing" featuring artistic photos of the changing aspects and trends of China's capital, and the "Great celestial abstraction", showcasing Chinese painting.
Several countries lying along the historical Silk Road, including India and Turkey, have contributed to the event.