A Wonderful Encounter — The Visit to the Exhibition of Antiquities from Ancient Syria
(2022-10-20 14:10:00)

A visiting activity named “Encounter Mesopotamia: An Exhibition of Antiquities from Ancient Syria” was held by RUC School of Global Governance under its new course “Cultural Exchange between China and the West in Ancient Times” on September 28, 2022. Wang Xiaokun, associate professor of the School of History, also the lecturer of the course, led 18 students from seven schools to visit the National Museum of Classical Books where he offered students a vivid and detailed archaeological interpretation.



Co-organized by the Art Exhibitions China and the national library (National Museum of Classical Books), it was an annual exhibition featuring the splendid history of Syrian. From daily items to ceremonial utensils, from figurines to architectural decorations, from Assyrian frescoes to Greek silver coins, this exhibition presented visitors with a magnificent picture of the Syrian history.

The exhibition was divided into five parts: “Dawn”, “Transformation”, “Striving for Hegemony”, “Integration” and “Dialogue”. It covered the Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Greek, Roman and Islamic Age in Syria.

196 pieces/groups of fine cultural relics from 9 Syrian museums including Damascus National Museum, Aleppo Museum and 3 domestic museums were exhibited, including statues of worshippers from Syria, Assyrian murals, lapis lazuli necklaces, the replica of the Nestorian Stele of Tang Dynasty from Xi’an Beilin Museum, carved stone steles from Museum of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and copy of the Syrian Bible Psalm from the Dunhuang Academy etc. All these are the historical witnesses of the cultural and trade exchanges between China and Syria and China’s friendship with countries along “the Belt and Road”.



The visit broadened students’ international vision. By learning Syria’s rich cultural heritage in this trip, the students were supposed to better perceive the diversity of human civilization and the integration of different civilizations.



By the end of the day, students participating in this tour were greatly impressed by the wonderful exhibition:

Yan Xinyuan, Undergraduate from the Business School

I am very honored and excited to visit the exhibition with teachers and classmates. With a feeling of awe and an attitude of exploration, I read each introduction carefully and observed the details of each cultural relic. I can sense the spectacular civilization that spans time and space on each exquisite exhibit. These precious cultural relics showed us the diverse and complex culture of Mesopotamian plain from thousands of years ago and reminded us to respect and protect civilization.

Wang Zengyan, Undergraduate from the Business School

With the erosion of Euphrates River and Tigris River, a fertile soil of Mesopotamia Plain is formed, on which a bright civilization was born. I was really attracted by the richness and compatibility of the ancient civilization of Syria. When I saw two similar hedgehog-shaped objects, I wondered whether hedgehogs embody any special meaning in Syrian civilization. Seeing the cuneiform characters on a small stone, I would wonder if it was a Sumerian notepad. Gazing at the coins, I would imagine the prosperity during that historical period in Greek. Here, I witnessed the collision and blending of civilizations. What a beautiful experience!

Zhong Yingqi, Postgraduate from the Law School

Through the activity, I’ve got a greater understanding of the cultural characteristics of the two river basins and the cultural exchanges between China and foreign countries. It can be seen from the pottery in Neolithic Age. The lines and shapes of Syrian colored pottery are similar to those of Chinese Majiayao culture and Yangshao culture, showing the characteristics of black lines in a red background, which indicates the similarities of the civilizations in producing pottery in early human civilization. Participation in this activity has expanded my horizon. Indeed, I am keenly aware of the importance of being a bridge of cultural exchange between China and Syria. I do believe the common prosperity of human society will only be promoted with inclusiveness and mutual learning.



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