qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

  • Mood:

Quite Interesting

There have been occasions when my fellow-travellers in an exhibition have been a more attention-grabbing anthropological experience than the exhibits themselves. Fortunately, today that was not the case when kharin and I visited the Persian exhibition at the British Museum.

The premise is that we in the West learn about the Persian empire exclusively from the viewpoint of the Greek historians, who regarded the Persians as hostile aggressors, and therefore Alexander's destruction of Persepolis was a great triumph and the end of a tyrannical empire. In fact, the Persian empire (extending to India and Afghanistan to the east, and Turkey and Egypt to the west) was the largest ever empire at the time. Exhibits include casts of some of the remaining friezes from Persepolis, and items from Susa and elsewhere. Many items are plainly of questionable provenance, labelled as "said to be from ..." which does imply a considerable degree of doubt. The most interesting items were a number of golden rhytons (drinking cups). It's a smaller exhibition than those on the Aztecs and Turk civilisations in recent years, perhaps down to the political difficulty of negotiating access as well as the actual availability of artefacts.

We meandered into the nearby London Review Bookshop, which was Quite Interesting, though not as imaginitive or entertaining as the QI Bookshop in Oxford; thence home when we did our best to dodge the Christmas shoppers in Reading. The Inflatable Santa of Doom is already present at Winnersh Triangle; it can only be a matter of time before the turning on of the Al-Qaeda Landing Lights of Eternity ...
Tags: exhibitions
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