When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relation to the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions. Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan -- with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind ." (1 Kings 10)
Queen of Sheba: Legend and Reality will feature more than 100 spectacular treasures chosen from the breathtaking collections of the 250-year-old British Museum. These treasures, some from the 1st century, will bring to life the history of Queen of Shebas fascinating ancient civilization still mostly unfamiliar to a Western audience. In addition to magnificent treasures from the acclaimed British Museum collection, one of the marquee treasures in Queen of Sheba: Legend and Reality is a bronze head of a male that was lent by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The exhibition will begin with the Queen of Sheba as a legend in art through Renaissance and modern representations. Queen of Sheba is viewed as a figure of beauty and seduction who sent a camel train of gold and ivory to King Solomon. According to legend, Solomon married the Queen around 950 BC after she became enthralled by the magnificence and majesty of his palace.
Included among the exhibits stunning prints, drawings and film stills that illustrate various explanations of the Queen of Sheba legend are a superbly detailed 1590-1600 creation of the Queen of Sheba reclining beside a stream, and a splendid 1549 etching that depicts the Queen falling to her knees before King Solomon.
The early history and cultural development of Shebas ancient civilization are explored in this exhibit through new archaeological discoveries, demonstrating the existence of a rich Bronze Age culture. Among the alluring treasures are statues depicting rulers of rival kingdoms as well as the striking 1st century alabaster head of a woman that reveals the attitudes regarding death and the afterlife in the ancient civilization.
Spectacular examples of decorative architectural elements, gold jewels and jewelry, pottery, glass and metalwork will reveal daily life in this ancient civilization. Extravagant incense burners and aromatic resins highlighted the bastion of the ancient economy. Queen of Sheba: Legend and Reality will present a stunning 3rd century calcite-alabaster incense burner engraved with a camel rider. The evocative smell of incense will be used to enrich the atmosphere in the Bowers gallery and grand galleria, designed by Paul Johnson, Director of Exhibit Design.
The development of art during Shebas era will be revealed in the exhibit through such artifacts as the exquisitely crafted gold bulls head as well as a bronze altar with a bulls head and a lifelike bronze hand with a dedicatory inscription that provides insight into this civilizations fascinating culture.
The Bowers previously featured Egyptian Treasures from The British Museum in 2000. The relationship between the museums grew, and in May 2003, the Bowers became the first museum to sign a long-term, joint-venture agreement with The British Museum. The next exhibit to come to the Bowers Museum under this collaboration is Mummies: Death and The Afterlife in Ancient Egypt, which will open April 17, 2005.
- Selected images from Queen of Sheba: Legend and Reality are available to the media by contacting Bowers Museum Director of Public Relations Rick Weinberg at 714-567-3642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- A fully-illustrated exhibition catalogue, Queen of Sheba: Legend and Reality, will be available at the exhibition opening. The catalogues author, Dr. St John Simpson, assistant keeper, Department of the Ancient Near East at the British Museum, and curator of the exhibition, shares the essential elements of all the different stories about the Queen of Sheba, details of archaeological discoveries and discussion on artwork influenced by the Queen of Sheba myth from the ancient kingdom of Saba.
- Interviews are available with Bowers Museum President Peter Keller; Curator St John Simpson of The British Museum; Curatorial Consultant Nicholas Clapp, author of Sheba: Through the Desert in Search of the Legendary Queen <http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0395952832/qid=1091295034/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/103-7356576-6676660?v=glance&s=books> ; and Director of Exhibit Design Paul Johnson. Contact: Bowers Director of Public Relations Rick Weinberg at 714-567-3642 or email@example.com.
- A lecture and film series detailing architecture, art and culture of ancient Arabia will accompany the exhibition. For more details, please contact Manager of Museum Programs Megan Shockro at 714.567.3679 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Selected images from Queen of Sheba: Legend and Reality are available to the media by going to <http://press.bowers.org:8088/sheba> or by contacting Bowers Museum Director of Public Relations Rick Weinberg at 714-567-3642 or <email@example.com>.
About the Bowers Museum
The Bowers Museum is a world-class, internationally-celebrated institution of art and culture dedicated to the preservation, study and exhibition of fine arts from around the world. Its guiding philosophy is helping people learn about other cultures through their arts that will lead to a greater understanding of ourselves and a fuller appreciation of the marvelous diversity of the world in which we live. The Bowers has organized some of the most culturally significant exhibits in history, including Secret World of Forbidden City, The Dead Sea Scrolls, Egyptian Treasures of The British Museum and Tibet: Treasures from the Roof of the World.