A German Jewish Iranologist, who lost his University of Berlin post in 1935 after officially declaring that his grandparents were Jewish, is one of several focuses of an exhibit about Asian travel at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C. “The Traveler’s Eye: Scenes of Asia” is on view through May 31. Ernst Herzfeld is not a household name but is renowned for his 1911-13 excavations in Samarra, an Islamic pilgrimage destination in Iraq designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007, and his 1931-34 work in Persepolis, where he unearthed the ruins of Darius the Great’s palace, which Alexander the Great destroyed.
As the acrid dust dies down from the war in Iraq and bullets cease to reach their human targets, it is time to discover what remains of its unique archaeological heritage and, sadly, which sites have been damaged. This year is the 100th anniversary of the excavation of the legendary royal city of Samarra, hardly touched – except by conflict – since then. In fact, UNESCO states that eighty percent remains to be revealed. An exhibition entitled Samarra – Centre of the World at the Pergamon Museum for Islamic Art, Berlin, celebrates the 100th anniversary of excavations of the site. Exhibits include fragments of murals, stucco carving and wood paneling from palaces, lusterware ceramics, Chinese porcelain illustrative of the city’s far-reaching trade links, and also original excavation photographs. The exhibition closes on May 26th, 2013.
Read More: A Joy for all to See
See also: Samarra, Centre of the World
With his excavations in Samarra, the German archaeologist Ernst Herzfeld founded ‘Islamic Archaeology’. On the 101st anniversary of his excavations in the city, which is situated in modern-day Iraq, a special exhibition marking his work has opened its doors in Berlin.
Read More: Samarra, Centre of the World