Napoleon Bonaparte once said "What is history, but a fable agreed upon?". While that may be true, let me say that like all history buffs, I enjoy these fables immensely.
The most recent historical tale I enjoyed was the 'Hidden Treasures of Afghanistan' exhibition. Currently displayed in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the exhibition is a collection of ancient artefacts opening the doorway to four different periods in Afghanistan's diverse history: the village of Tepe Fullol (from the Bronze Age); the city of Ai Khanum (from the Hellenistic Period); the city of Begram (from the Persian Period), and the city of Tillya Tepe (from the Pre-Islamic Period).
Thought to have been lost for centuries, all four collections display a side to Afghan culture rarely shown in the media – the statues of bronze and gold reflect the Persian, Indian and Greek influences in Afghan culture, and a link to the past scarcely acknowledged. There are jewellery collections, household items, and assortments of gold objects. My personal highlights would be the Hellenistic style treasures of Ai Khanum, and the treasures of the tombs excavated from Tillya Tepe.
Image by Robert Kluijver
The exhibition will be open from 7 March to 15 June, with talks on the exhibition every Wednesday in April from 7:15pm, as well as many tours and lectures throughout this period. Key dates include 2 April, where there will be live Afghan music from 7:30pm, and 14 – 17 April, where there will be jewellery making workshops.
If you're a history or art lover, or would just love to learn about another culture, then this exhibition is definitely worth a visit – it's a journey through the past in one of Sydney's most beautiful galleries.