The exhibitions from Uzbekistan, which had been in the works before the pandemic put a stop to most cultural exchanges, finally opened in France to much acclaim.
Two major exhibitions have opened in Paris during the official visit of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev to France.
During this week's visit, the two nations strengthened their ties with the opening of “The Splendours of Uzbekistan’s Oases: At the Crossroads of Caravan Routes” at the Louvre and “The Road to Samarkand: Miracles of Silk and Gold” at the Arab World Institute.
Uzbekistan’s rich heritage shapes both exhibitions, with “Splendours” covering the fifth to sixth century BCE to the reign of the Timurids and the “Road to Samarkand” presenting a more recent past.
The “Road to Samarkand” showcases the 19th to the 20th centuries, including paintings of the Turkestan avant-garde culled from the collections of Uzbekistan state museums.
Archaeologists and researchers excavating in Uzbekistan earlier in collaboration with local experts assessed the exquisite finds and began formulating a possible exhibition overseas to better present them, culminating in these exhibitions.
The initial plans had one exhibition scheduled for 2020-2021 at the Louvre, but the Covid-19 pandemic meant that it had to be postponed to 2022.
The waiting period also revealed that it would make more sense to present an excursion not only into the ancient history of Uzbekistan (that ended at the 15th century) but to extend it to modern times, a challenge that was resolved with the involvement of the Arab World Institute for a second exhibition.
As most of the artefacts on display at the two museums have never left Uzbekistan before, organisers believe they will be of great interest to art and craft lovers.