The exhibition was initially conceived back in 2010 jointly by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Cultural Heritage (SCTH) and the Musée du Louvre in Paris, where it was first exhibited. After its Paris debut, the exhibition travelled to 14 destinations across Europe, America and Asia before reaching the Louvre Abu Dhabi in November – and this time there’s a surprise addition to the collection.
For the first time ever, artefacts from the United Arab Emirates too will be displayed alongside those from Saudi Arabia. The artefacts from the UAE include a pearl from 5500-5300 BCE found in Umm Al Quwain, a stone decorated with a wild camel from the late 3rd millennium BCE, 1st millennium BCE pieces from the Saruq al Hadid site in Dubai and objects from the ancient city of Julfar in Ras Al Khaimah.
The exhibition covers five chapters in the history of the Arabian Peninsula including early prehistoric settlements, maritime exploration, caravan trading routes that linked the region with Asia, Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean, routes of holy pilgrimage emerging in the 7th century CE and finally the social and economic developments between the 14th– and 16th-century.
The standout pieces on display from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia include a Neolithic funerary stele, a 4th-millennium BCE Anthropomorphic stele, a door of the Kaaba dating to 1355 and a key of the Kaaba too. If you never paid enough attention during history class, you will now.
Louvre Abu Dhabi, until February 16, louvreabudhabi.ae