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The Year One: Art of the Ancient World East and West

Milleker, Elizabeth J., Christopher Lightfoot, Melanie Holcomb, Marsha Hill, Jean Evans, Joan Aruz, Denise Patry Leidy, and Julie Jones (2000)

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Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History (31)
Exhibition
The Year One: Art of the Ancient World East and West

As part of its celebration of the new millennium, the Metropolitan Museum is presenting approximately 150 masterpieces from the permanent collections that were produced some two thousand years ago in the period just before and after the Year One. Spanning seven curatorial departments, these works range from Roman portraits to Celtic metalwork, from Egyptian sculpture to Han dynasty terracotta figurines, from Vietnamese Dongson drums to Calima face masks of hammered gold. Together, they reveal the rich diversity of—and intriguing interconnections among—the cultures that produced them.

The exhibition highlights the interconnections that existed between widely separated parts of the world. Some relationships were established through the extension of Roman power under the rule of Augustus, the first Roman emperor (27 B.C.–A.D. 14). Others evolved through the overland and maritime trade routes that provided the East and West with tantalizing glimpses of each other and that also linked many Asian cultures in an unprecedented fashion. Artistic traditions and religious beliefs were exchanged along these global networks, as were luxury goods such as Roman glass, Chinese silk, and East Indian pepper. While the works from each culture are shown together, the exhibition is organized to give a sense of the geographical and cultural proximity of different regions.