Sharjah’s Mleiha Exhibition Opens in Japan

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Sheikha Bodour also emphasised that Mleiha, and its rich cultural heritage, are an integral part of Arab identity and that this exhibition will showcase the profound impact of Arab civilisation on the world, enhancing it as a source of inspiration for future generations…reports Asian Lite News

Under the patronage of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and in the presence of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), the Sharjah Archaeology Authority (SAA) inaugurated the ‘Mleiha: An Arabian Kingdom on the Silk Road’ exhibition at the Miho Museum in Japan, which is being held from 6th July to 15th December 2024.

The exhibition is part of the SAA’s efforts to enhance global awareness of Sharjah’s and the UAE’s cultural and civilisational heritage and aims to shed light on the rich history and significant role of Mleiha as a crucial hub on the Silk Road.

The exhibition was inaugurated in the presence of Eisa Yousif, Director General of the Sharjah Archaeology Authority (SAA); Professor Isao Kumakura, Director of the Miho Museum; Yukiko Koyama, Head of the Miho Museum Office; Shehab Ahmed Al Fahim, UAE Ambassador to Japan; Dr. Mohammed bin Saeed Al Busaidi, Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman to Japan; Hiroki Iwanaga, Mayor of Koka City; Marwan Ahmed Alnaqbi, the Deputy Chief of Mission, and a host of prominent and diplomatic figures in the fields of culture and archaeology. Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi expressed Sharjah’s gratitude for this cultural cooperation with Japan and affirmed that the organisation of such events by the SAA strengthens international relations, helping to build cultural bridges between nations while documenting the historical ties that unite us.

Sheikha Bodour also emphasised that Mleiha, and its rich cultural heritage, are an integral part of Arab identity and that this exhibition will showcase the profound impact of Arab civilisation on the world, enhancing it as a source of inspiration for future generations.

Eisa Yousif explained that this exhibition is part of Sharjah’s comprehensive cultural strategy focussing on, investing in, and sustaining culture and knowledge while enhancing national identity by highlighting the cultural heritage of the UAE and the Emirate of Sharjah on the international stage and museums.

He added that the organisation of this global exhibition – part of a series of initiatives aimed at enhancing cultural and archaeological tourism in Sharjah and the UAE – confirms Mleiha’s role in the story of human history. He added that as one of the most significant historical sites in the Arabian Peninsula, Mleiha is a rich source of identity and national pride.

He praised the collaboration with the Miho Museum – a partnership which reflects the strength of cultural relations between the two countries and enhances Sharjah’s vision as a cultural hub that attracts those interested in cultural heritage from all over the world.

The exhibition includes descriptions of more than 160 artifacts, of which 40 pieces are considered national treasures, and 49 pieces representing important cultural properties. Additionally, it features some recent discoveries being displayed for the first time to the Japanese public, illustrating the various aspects of life in the Kingdom of Mleiha.

The exhibition provides a detailed analysis of Mleiha’s central role in global trade, particularly the Silk Road, which connected the East and the West. It demonstrates peaceful coexistence in the region, with the displayed artifacts serving as living testimonies to cultural and commercial exchange.

The exhibition covers several themes including Crossroads of the Orient: Origins of Arabian Culture, The Mleiha Period: Mleiha and Dibba Al-Hisn Sites, Blessings of Nature: Plants and Animals World, Daily Life, and Coinage, in addition to Trade, Cultural Exchange, World of Gods, Religious Beliefs, and Standards of Beauty. On the sidelines of the exhibition inauguration, representatives from the Sharjah Archaeology Authority also undertook a comprehensive tour of the Miho Museum which has exhibits including Ancient Art from Egypt, Mesopotamia, Iran, Afghanistan, China, Japan – a collection of antiquities from some of the most famous museums in the world. Further, they also visited Misono, the headquarters of the Shinji Shumeikai, and the Shumei Natural Agriculture farming (traditional house), in addition to a visit to several UNESCO World Heritage sites including the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji), which combines three styles of Japanese architecture.

In 2022 the SAA and Miho Museum collaborated on an exhibition entitled ‘Connecting Civilisations: From Ancient Central Asia to East Asia’ as part of the Authority’s ongoing local and international archaeological exhibitions programme. The exhibition included a collection of rare archaeological discoveries, significantly including copper coins dating back to the early Silk Road period. These artefacts highlight the critical role of key regions in the Arabian Peninsula in establishing firm economic and cultural bridges, commercial activity and knowledge exchange between Asian peoples, the Arabian Peninsula, and Europe, in periods dating back to before the Common Era.

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