Abu Dhabi: The Louvre Abu Dhabi museum is now open to the public, and its magnificent interiors house more than 600 artworks and artefacts from across the world. Comprising 12 galleries and two introductory spaces, the tour begins with The Great Vestibule, a vast, light-filled initial expanse that highlights universal themes shared across cultures.
Commonality between cultures is a leitmotif in museum’s collection, Jean-Francois Charnier, Louvre Abu Dhabi scientific director, earlier told Gulf News.
The Great Vestibule, referencing the connectivity to the rest of the theme explored in the museum, holds nine display cases, each offering a study in comparison of three similar objects emanating from different cultures.
Ancient funerary masks made of gold from (left to right) Peru, Southern China and the Levant. Photo: Samihah Zaman/Gulf News
For instance, a case holds three ewers, each rimmed with gold. One was found in Turkey, another in Southern China and the third in India. In another display, three figurines, their hands clasped in prayer, are from Greece, Syria and Gabon. Another arrangement shows three plates depicting the sun, each different in colour and composition but united in the way man acknowledged the celestial forces in the cosmos.
Throughout the museum, the pieces are chronologically arranged to focus on these similarities between cultures, and to reiterate the great truth of human civilisation — that despite being separated by time, space and distance, mankind’s creative expression is born of a shared intuition.
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On the gallery floor is a map of the Arabian Gulf, with the names of the cities from which the artefacts and artworks have been sourced written in a variety of scripts. At the centre of the floor is an image of a compass, perfectly positioned under the skylight.