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Ancient civilizations unveiled
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09:08, July 28, 2009

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The comparison of the historic period between the Qin (221 BC - 206BC) and Han (206 BC - 220 AD) dynasties in China and the magnifi cent Roman Empire (27 BC - 476 AD) has long been a hot topic for modern historians from around the globe. An exhibition soon to open in Beijing hopes to unravel some of the great mysteries behind the ancient worlds.

Qin-Han and Roman Civilizations is scheduled to open Thursday at Beijing World Art Museum at the China Millennium Monument. A total of 489 pieces of antique art from over 70 museums across China and Italy will be displayed during the exhibition, each piece o_ ering a unique insight into the two magnifi cent civilizations, explained Wang Limei, director of Beijing World Art Museum.

One of the most outstanding works from Rome is the mural Alexander and Ruslana that used to hang in the dining hall of the House of the Golden Bracelet, one of the most beautiful residences in Pompeii, an ancient Italian city which was founded between the 7th and 6th centuries BC and destroyed and buried by a volcanic eruption in 79 AD.

Alexander and Ruslana is 1.5 meters high and 1.43 meters wide and was one of the largest-scale murals and much-treasured artifacts of the ancient city, said Stefano Vanacore, director of archaeological restorations of the city of Pompeii.

Left: Bronze mirror from the Han Dynasty. Right: Roman mural Alexander and Ruslana. Photo: Guo Yingguang

The work features the wedding of Emperor Alexander and his queen Ruslana, which took place in 327 BC. With an armed soldier standing behind the emperor as well as the god of love Cupid depicted, the wedding was narrated as being as romantic as that of Mars and Venus.

"It was a very popular but special subject of that time, that is, love and war," explained Vanacore. "People of the Roman period were very romantic, but the continual wars were another theme running through the mysterious history of Roman times."

Vanacore added that the Orientalstyle dress of the soldier in the mural provides fi rm evidence that communication, at least occasional, if not steady and official, between China and Rome existed during the time.

According to Vanacore, over 200 pieces of antique work from Italy will be on show at the exhibition, among which at least 50 percent have never been displayed abroad. The exhibition will also feature many interesting pieces from the Qin and Han dynasties that have been collected from major museums acrossChina, some of which are rare.

Among the exhibited works from China, one of the highlights is a bronze mirror from the Han Dynasty unearthed from a prince's mausoleum in Shandong Province. Standing 1.15 meters tall and half a meter wide, the mirror is the largest of its kind to be discovered and the back is adorned with exquisite designs of dragons and phoenixes.

In the eyes of Yang Yang, vice director of Art Exhibitions China, even though no evidence has been discovered to date showing direct official communications between the two civilizations, holding such an exhibition defi nitely has a signifi cant place in the present day.

"It gives a chance for the people in Italy and China to understand each other, which will undoubtedly boost communication between the two countries," Yang said. Co-organized by China's State Administration of Cultural Heritage and the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities in Italy, the exhibition will tour Rome and Milan next year, celebrating Chinese Culture Year in Italy.

The exhibition in China ends on October 7.

Source: Global Times

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