The treasures of Samarkand

Photo courtesy Registan Museum, Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Current readers should be quite familiar by now with Assistant Professor of Anthropology Frederik Hiebert’s expeditions that have revealed the richness of the ancient Silk Road civilizations of central Asia (Current, Jan. 14 and Sept. 16). Now, the rest of the world will have a chance to see those riches up close.
For the first time ever, the government of Uzbekistan has allowed its treasures to leave its borders, and more than 100 rare objects from all over the country will be on display at the Arthur Ross Gallery beginning Nov. 9 in a new exhibit, “Treasures of Uzbekistan: The Great Silk Road.”

The artifacts on display include objects from the ancient Bactrian civilization of the Bronze and Iron ages, fabrics, manuscripts and objects from the 12th-century Silk Road culture, and ethnographic materials from the Uzbek khanate of the 16th through 19th centuries, such as this 1860s photo of an Uzbek woman and her child in full wedding regalia.

The exhibit opens with a celebration of Uzbek culture on Nov. 8. Sodyq Safaev, the Uzbek ambassador to the United States, and a delegation of Uzbek government and cultural ministers will officially open the exhibit at a reception at 5:30 p.m. that day, followed by a performance of traditional Uzbek songs and dances by members of the Lazgi and Bakhor dance ensembles and the Uzbekistan National Orchestra at 7:30 p.m.


“TREASURES OF UZBEKISTAN”: Nov. 9, 1999, through Feb. 13, 2000, at the Arthur Ross Gallery, 220 S. 34th St. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission free. Opening reception: 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 8, at the gallery. Info: visit or call 215-898-2083.
TRADITIONAL UZBEK DANCERS: 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 8, in Rainey Auditorium, University of Pennsylvania Museum, 33rd and Spruce streets. Tickets $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Reservations/info: 215-898-4890.


Originally published on October 28, 1999