Tuesday, 24 April 2018

"Margiana. A Bronze Age Kingdom in Turkmenistan" Exhibition in Berlin

Figurine aus Gonur Depe
Grab 2900 der Königsnekropole, 18.–15. Jh. v. Chr.
Stein, Leihgeber: Museum der Bildenden Künste Turkmenistans, Aschgabat
© Herlinde Koelbl

Exhibition in Neues Museum, Museumsinsel Berlin
From 25 April  7 October 2018

Bodestr., 10178 Berlin
Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri 10 am–6 pm, Thu 10 am–8 pm, Sat + Sun 10 am–6 pm

With photographs by Herlinde Koelbl

A special exhibition by the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in association with the Turkmenistan Ministry of Culture and in collaboration with the Archäologisches Museum in Hamburg and the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen in Mannheim, supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media, Deutsche Bank AG and Siemens AG

Gonur Depe
Zentraler befestigter Bereich
© Herlinde Koelbl

Margiana – around 4,000 years ago, this historic landscape in eastern Turkmenistan was the cradle of a fascinating and sophisticated Bronze Age culture. Contemporary with the civilisations of Mesopotamia and Egypt, it has nevertheless remained relatively unknown in the West. Now for the first time outside Turkmenistan, a major exhibition at Berlins Neues Museum will make the archaeological remains of this mysterious culture accessible to a wide public. The distinguished German photographer, Herlinde Koelbl, was asked to photograph the archaeological sites, landscapes, people and exhibits. The result is a fascinating symbiosis of unfamiliar archaeological remains and photo art from a largely unknown country.

Gonur Depe, Königsnekropole, Rekonstruktion des Grabes 3900 © Herlinde Koelbl

Turkmenistan is the southernmost state in Central Asia. The country borders on Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and, in the west, the Caspian Sea. Its landscape and natural environment are largely shaped by the Karakum Desert and, in the south, the Kopet Dag mountain range. In the 20th century, the country was seen as the poorest of the Soviet Union’s republics. Now, thanks to the discovery of rich oil and gas reserves, Turkmenistan is undergoing a transition which is most evident in the rapid transformation of its cities and its infrastructure – a little-known country caught between tradition and modernity.
In the past, the Turkmenistan region was a centre of sophisticated cultures, lying on the routes linking China, India, Iran and the Near East, later to become known as the Silk Road. Alexander the Great reached the region in the 4th century BC on his way to India. In the 2nd century AD, the Parthians established their capital city at Alt-Nisa, close to the present capital, Ashkhabad. Further north, another important centre developed at the oasis of Merv, which today, like Nisa, is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. But Turkmenistan’s first cultural flowering occurred over 4,000 years ago, during the magnificent heyday of the Kingdom of Margiana.

Figurine eines Raubvogels aus Gonur Depe, Grab 3200 der Königsnekropole, Ende 3.–Mitte 2. Jtd. v. Chr.Fayence, Gold, Gips (modern), Leihgeber: Staatliches Museum Turkmenistans, Aschgabat © Herlinde Koelbl

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