The Real Kazakhstan Revealed in DC

The Real Kazakhstan Revealed in DC

Nomads and Networks The Ancient Art and Culture of Kazakhstan, Washington DC, Arthur M Sackler, Museum, HistoryIt was back in 2006 when Kazakhstan came to our attention, thanks to one Sacha Baron Cohen and his friend Borat. But the crazy character’s homeland has a lot more on offer than just his overweight wife, Oksana, as this new exhibition at the Arthur M Sackler Gallery hopes to demonstrate.

Providing a glimpse into the ancient history and culture of this vast country (nearly four times the size of Texas, residing south of Russia and west of Mongolia and China) ‘Nomads and Networks: The Ancient Art and Culture of Kazakhstan’ concentrates on the country throughout the Iron Age.

One third of the far-flung country is steppe grasslands where nomadic tribes, interested in antiquities, used to tame horses; the exhibition explores this area, providing an insight into their culture.

Featuring such artefacts as two large petroglyph-carved stones and several kurgan (burial mounds) and the objects which they hide, this exhibition really opens the eyes to a country which is probably only associated with Borat within the US.

Ornamental horse bridal, turquoise and gold ‘snow leopard masks’, a gold diadem featuring a horned deer and huge cauldrons have been uncovered and put on display. The kurgans which housed both people and horses are still being opened in Kazakhstan; a live blog linked to the exhibition details all of the current findings.

Archaeologist and curator of the exhibition, Alexander Nagel says of the natives, “The people are so interested in sharing their knowledge with other cultures.” Good thing too.

‘Nomads and Networks’ opened on Saturday and runs until November 12. 

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