Roman National Museum of the Baths of Diocletian, Piazza della Repubblica, Rome
21 October 2011 – 26 February 2012
As part of the Biennial International Silk Road Culture
Palmyra, Tur ‘Abdin, Ctesiphon, Taq-e Bostan, Merv, Samarkand, Ghazni, Swat, Kucha, Turfan, Dunhuang, Xi’an are the stages of the journey “to the East”, through the fascinating and legendary Silk Road, including the second century BC and the fourteenth century A.D. A journey surrounded by the lights and by impressive silence of the lands of the East, where men and caravans were driven not only by commercial impulses, even from the thirst of the unknown and the missionary zeal.
The exhibition “in the East: city, men and the Silk Roads” from October 21, 2011 to February 26, 2012 in Rome in the great Halls of the Baths of Diocletian, exceptionally open for this occasion by the Special Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage of Rome – makes use of scientific advice of IsIAO and scientific care of Francesco D’Arelli and Pierfrancesco Callieri.
The common thread of the three great religions (Buddhism, Christianity and Islam) that characterized the routes Land of the Silk Road from the second century BC the fourteenth century A.D. leads the visitor along a structured media path that winds in the evocative atmosphere of the Baths of Diocletian. In places the exhibition tells the cradle of civilization populated by people of different origins and backgrounds, often Buddhism, Christianity and Islam found unimaginable opportunities for fraternal coexistence and mutual tolerance.
It will be a visual, sound and emotional journey thanks to the installation art project Studio Azzurro, Milan art collective, known and appreciated internationally.
Through the filters of the look, sounds, voices and gestures, staging media interprets twelve emblematic places, capable of telling the complexity and contamination cultural and religious identity of the Silk Roads. The wooden box, storage system of the archaeological material preserved in these areas, becomes a metaphor of the journey and support for video installations, useful for staging that here is developed in time and space between objects, precious and rare pieces that interact with large landscapes, echoes of distant voices and stories of timeless places and people.
The path begins with a great animated map that greets the visitor at the entrance and ends with the Chart of the Mongolian Landscape – beginning of the sixteenth century AD – exhibited for the first time in the world for this occasion after being found in Japan in 2002 and purchased by an auction company of Beijing.
The map looks like a roll of silk painting, over 30 meters long, depicting vividly places and subjects of the famous Silk Road, a vast territory that extended from the flap over western Chinese province of Gansu (northwest China) to the Red Sea. The paper reproduces more than 200 place names in Chinese, many of which are transliterated from the Mongolian from uiguro, from Persian, Arabic, Latin, etc.. The Mecca (Tianfang) is, for example, presented as a highly mobile city in China.
The path of Studio Azzurro dialogues and uses, throughout the exhibition, of a selected collection of important artifacts of various types, one hundred works that come from: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City), the Laurentian Library (Florence), Institute of Archaeology of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (Urumqi, China), Vatican Museums (Vatican City), Medieval Museum (Bologna), Museum of ‘Oriental Art (Turin), Museum of the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous Region (Urumqi, China), Museum of Ancient Sculpture “John Barracco” (Rome), Museum of Turpan, Xinjiang Uighur autonomous Region (China), Museum national Oriental Art “G. Tucci” (Rome), national Museum of the Bargello (Florence).
Outstanding lending, shown for the first time on this occasion after a long and careful restoration, is the bible known as Bible of Marco Polo, as dating from the thirteenth century, time of the Venetian explorer great journey. Now kept in the Laurentian Library, was discovered in China in the seventeenth century by the Jesuit Philippe Couplet, who during his trip to Italy, made a gift to Cosimo III de’ Medici.
With this exhibition the City of Rome, deeply engaged in the dialogue between civilizations and religions, as a cultural capital and international meeting place, opened – thanks to synergy between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activities, Roma Capitale and the Chamber of Commerce of Rome – the International Biennial of Culture of the Silk Roads, dedicated to those countries of the Middle and Far East, until the thirteenth century, in essence, to the travels of Marco Polo, have been a mystery to Europe. The Biennial is scheduled until February 2012, ten exhibitions – ranging from history to archeology, from contemporary to current events – and a rich calendar of conferences and events.
10:00 to 19:00
Closed Dec. 25, Jan. 1.
The ticket office closes one hour earlier.
Full 10 €; reduced 7 €
Special schools and art students € 5
Free under 6 years
To access the Baths of Diocletian, the ticket is the same to the Roman National Museum, valid for 3 days for 4 sites (Palazzo Massimo, Palazzo Altemps, Balbi Crypt, Baths of Diocletian)
Reduced € 3.50, for EU citizens aged 18 to 24 years
Free for EU citizens under 18 and over 65