Relics from an age of luxury

Local | 28 Mar 2018

History fans have something to look forward to in the coming months. The Hong Kong Museum of History is hosting a special exhibition called An Age of Luxury: The Assyrians to Alexander.

It will feature some 210 luxurious items which would have belonged to the wealthy elites of Assyria in the 900 BC to 300 BC era.

Assyria was part of the Mesopotamian region known as the "cradle of civilization" in what is now Iraq. For some 2,000 years it was a crossroads of Mediterranean, Babylonian, Persian and Indian empires and civilizations.

The exhibition covers the later period when the Assyrian empire expanded and then came under Persian influence before falling to Alexander the Great of Macedonia.

This collection from the British Museum covers a range of stunning luxury goods owned by the wealthy and powerful of the region. These were people who clearly regarded exotic and obviously expensive possessions as vital symbols of their social status.

The items came from different parts of the Mediterranean, Middle East and Central Asia. They include amber jewelry, gold tableware, cast alloy furnishings and decorative wall panels carved from gypsum.

One of the finest pieces is a flask made of gold designed and fashioned in superb detail to look like a fish - the vessel was used to keep perfumed oil.

Alexander the Great was attracted to the region by its wealth. These treasures will give you an idea why.

The exhibition runs from May 9 to September 3.

Bernard Charnwut Chan is chairman of The Jockey Club CPS Advisory Committee

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