Detroit museum opening revamped Ancient Middle East gallery

AP News
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Posted: Oct 01, 2015 12:48 AM

DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Institute of Arts is reopening its revamped Ancient Middle East gallery, which includes art from the ancient empires of Assyria, Babylonia Persia and others.

The more than 2,800-square-foot gallery on the museum's first floor officially opens Friday following preview events. It will display 177 key pieces in an installation designed to illuminate connections between advancing technologies and sophisticated art forms.

"Our approach to this gallery continues the interpretive work the DIA has developed across the museum to help visitors engage with the art and content in compelling ways," Swarupa Anila, DIA director of interpretive engagement, said in a statement.

"We want visitors to feel awe at the human ingenuity invested in the making of these ancient Middle Eastern objects and think in new ways about art and its function in society."

The works on display are from parts of the ancient Middle East that now are part of Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Yemen. Among them is a panel of glazed tiles from the Ishtar Gate, built in the city of Babylon, that the DIA considers among the jewels of its collection.

Consulting curator Geoff Emberling, an assistant research scientist at the University of Michigan's Kelsey Museum of Archaeology in Ann Arbor, worked on overhauling the gallery with Anila and Birgitta Augustin, the DIA's associate curator of Asian Art.

"It has some star pieces — monumental sculptures as well as smaller masterworks," Emberling said.

The museum's collection of ancient Middle Eastern art includes more than 500 works spanning more than 8,500 years.

Other architectural pieces on display include a floor mosaic of the Tigris river, a relief depicting a scene from the palace of an Assyrian king and stone reliefs from the Persepolis palaces. More objects on display include clay tablets, painted ceramics, metal works and jewelry.

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Online:

http://www.dia.org