PARIS.- For the 27th Bienniale des Antiquaires the Jacques Barrere gallery chooses to focus her exhibition on Silk Road. Cultural spinal column of Eurasia, the Silk Road was the place of circulation of the major technological discoveries, of religions as varied as Islam, Christianity and Hinduism; place of exchange, melting pot and trade. To control it ensured the prosperity of empires, the loss of its access could mean decadence or destruction.
The art of Gandhara, derive from the association between the forms of Greek sculpture and the Buddhist spirituality, has a particular place of honor with a monumental Buddha head made in schist, and a rare golden crown of laurels, probably the only complete copy in a private collection. Ornaments of the aristocracy for important celebrations, these jewels were sometimes buried with their owners.
Relations between the Islamic world and China are illustrated by a large Swatow enamel plate decorated with Koranic inscriptions and a great pair of cabinets inlaid with mother-of-pearl and silver for the rich Muslim merchant living in China.
The Louis Hambis collection of Nestorian crosses is shown to the public for the very first time. Nestorian Christians, of Turkic origin, settled in the central part of the Silk Road from the VIIIth to the XXth century, were the most far-eastern Christian community. These crosses, found in the nineteenth century, are the main physical testimony to this vanished culture.
The exhibition will be complemented by silk of Sogdian origin iridescent animal motifs blending influences of Greek, Persian, Chinese and Hellenistic. Several Chinese sculptures representing foreign evoke humor Chinese perception of laowai.