Attività Archeologica italiana in Asia

Attività Archeologica italiana in Asia. Mostra dei risultati delle missioni archeologiche in Pakistan e in Afghanistan, 1956-1959, Torino, Poligrafiche Riunite, 1960, p. 70, pl. 33 black and white and colour.

In 1960 the Centro Ricerche Archeologiche e Scavi di Torino (at that time called Centro Scavi e Ricerche Archeologiche dell' ls.M.E.O. e di Torino) organized a didactic exhibition regarding the excavations made in Afghanistan and Pakistan, places very different from each other but linked by very ancient historic relations, by from early historic migrations to the great empires of the Parthians and the Sasanians, to Islam, and especially by the presence of Hellenism subsequent to Alexander the Great's campaigns. The catalogue Attività Archeologica Italiana in Asia, Exhibition of the Results of the Missions in Pakistan and Afghanistan 1956-1959 (Turin-Rome 1960), edited by Giorgio Gullini with a foreword by Domenico Faccenna for Mingora, Umberto Scerrato and Dino Adamesteanu for Afghanistan, and descriptive tables by Giorgio Gullini (Udegram), Maurizio Taddei (Butkara) and Umberto Scerrato (Ghazni and Gakatu), illustrates the sites researched in Afghanistan and Pakistan, briefly highlighting the cultural influences, differences and contacts between East and West in the light of Hellenism. The exhibition was a first example of “dialogue with the public”, a bond which the Centro Ricerche Archeologiche e Scavi di Torino has always sought and strongly desired in its over 40 years of activity. This first archaeological undertaking in the Middle East was subsequently illustrated, with a liberal display of original pieces, in the exhibition Afghanistan from Prehistory to Islam.

Afghanistan dalla preistoria all'Islam

GULLINI G. (ed.) Afghanistan dalla preistoria all'Islam. Mostra dei capolavori del museo di Kabul, Torino, F.lli Pozzo-Salvati-Gros Monti, 1961, p. 172, pl. 66 black and white and colour.

This exhibition, promoted in 1961 by the then Centro Scavi dell’Ismeo e di Torino, displayed several masterpieces, mainly sculptures, from the rich collection of the Kabul Museum. The primary intention was to illustrate, through this important material documentation, the cultural links between the Eastern and Western worlds, which have always been one of the preferred themes of research among the activities of the Centro Scavi di Torino. Afghanistan – at that time the scene of four years of excavation work by Centro Scavi – being a junction between the routes to China and India, has provided a clear example of this confluence of cultures and, at the same time, of all the problems related to the cultural and commercial relationships ascribable to this encounters.

Sculture buddiste dello Swat

Mostra delle sculture buddiste dello Swat: sculture rinvenute a Mingora dalla missione archeologica in Pakistan del Centro scavi dell'Ismeo e di Torino assegnate agli enti torinesi e da questi donati al Museo civico, Torino, F.lli Pozzo-Salvati-Gros-Monti, 1963, p. 18, fig. 107 b/w.

The purpose of the exhibition, inaugurated in April 1963, was to present material coming from the excavations in the sacred area of Mingora - Butkara, in the Swat region, at the North-West limits of Pakistan. This material was donated by the then Centro Scavi dell’ISMEO e di Torino to the Civic Museums at Turin and entered the collection of the Turin Museum as the share of the partition of the findings. The exhibits were mainly reliefs deriving from architectural contexts (cornices, pillars, capitals, antefixes), which decorated the stupas, the characteristic Buddhist religious monuments: the sculptures, in fact, recall with their subjects the legends of the life of Buddha. Their style indicates that they belong to the so-called Gandharan art, a name deriving from one of the satrapies of the Achaemenid empire. This art embodies diverse sculptural works, combining elements of Persian art with influences from India and a significant Hellenistic influence.

Capolavori del museo di Baghdad

GULLINI G. (a cura di) Capolavori del museo di Baghdad. Sei millenni di arte mesopotamica, Torino, Galleria d’Arte Moderna, 1965, p. 114, tav. 130 b/n, 7 colori.

The exhibition, organized in 1965, displayed several masterpieces from the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, enabling the Italian public, at a very early time in the history of cultural communications, to come into contact with over 6,000 years of ancient history through the material documents of an area, Mesopotamia, that is perhaps one of the most interesting in the world from a historical and archaeological point of view. The exhibition therefore marked a first achievement of the extensive research and scientific cooperation activities with Iraqi authorities performed by the Centro Ricerche Archeologiche e Scavi di Torino in its 40 years of existence.

Museo Civico di Torino

INVERNIZZI A. Museo Civico di Torino. Sezione d'Arte Orientale, Torino, F.lli Pozzo-Salvati-Gros Monti, 1966, p. 135, pl. LXI b/w and colour.

In the mid-1960s, the Centro Ricerche Archeologiche e Scavi di Torino, four years from its establishment in its current form, prepared the Oriental Art and Civilization Department of the City Museum of Turin. Several items already owned by the museum were moved here, as well as those that represented the achievements of the survey and excavation campaigns conducted by the Centro Scavi di Torino in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan (according to the custom of the time, according to which a part of the excavated materials went to the government of the country where the excavations were made and another part went to the excavators). The exhibition of the Gandhara sculptures (from the excavations in the sanctuary of Butkara) and of several objects originating from the first excavations in Iraq (Seleucia and Choche) therefore rendered the Turinese museum an ideal bridge between Turin and Iraq for understanding eastern civilizations.

La terra tra i due fiumi

La terra tra i due fiumi. Venti anni di archeologia in Medio Oriente. La Mesopotamia dei Tesori, Torino, Il Quadrante, 1985, p. 439, with many balck and white and colour illustrations.

The exhibition organized by the Centro Ricerche Archeologiche e Scavi di Torino was a fundamental achievement in the history of Italian studies in the Near East. As Prof. Giorgio Gullini stated in the introduction to the catalogue, the exhibition’s theme is the “twenty years of experiences and activities for conducting research programmes, with constant updating and ongoing improvement of operational methodologies, in the context of a close interaction of physical, mathematical and natural sciences and historical sciences, aimed at reconstructing mankind’s past in moments and places determined from time to time, as thoroughly as possible”. Through original artefacts, reconstructions and illustrative panels, the exhibition analysed some basic aspects of the history of civilization in Mesopotamia, and specifically excavations, funerary customs, anthropological, zooarchaeological and ethnoanthropological elements of the sites of Tell Hassan, Tell Abu Husaini and Tell Yelkhi (Hamrin project), the cultural relations between East and West in the Hellenistic panorama that followed Alexander the Great (Seleucia on the Tigris, Choche, Kifrin), the cultural aspects of the areas adjacent to Mesopotamia (Jerash, the Atrek Valley), without overlooking the field activities of the archaeologists from the Centro Scavi and the guidance, planning and scientific cooperation of the Italian Institutes in Baghdad (the Italian-Iraqi Institute of Archaeological Sciences and the Italian-Iraqi Centre for the Restoration of Monuments).

Momenti e luoghi del Mediterraneo

Momenti e luoghi del Mediterraneo. Archeologia in Iraq, Jerash, Beirut, Cartagine, Selinunte, Torino, 2003, p. 36, tav. XVI, with many illustrations.

The Exhibition, held simultaneously in Turin and Rome, presented with the help of photographs and drawings the main projects of the Centro Ricerche Archeologiche e Scavi di Torino which are now under way. In Iraq: the studies and restoration of the palace of Sennacherib at Niniveh; the proposals for the museological project for the new expanded Iraq Museum, as part of the town planning and architectural project for the City of Culture in one of the historic areas of Baghdad; the latest developments of the B.R.I.L.A. project for the recovery of the treasures of the Iraqi regional museums stolen in the aftermath of the Gulf War; and the laboratory project for the systematic study of the territory, whose aim is to produce a computerized analytical map of its cultural and environmental resources. For Jerash: the latest results of the excavation and survey studies in the area of the so-called Trapezoidal Plaza and the monumental Propylaeum, in the context of a study for a virtual visit to the Sanctuary of Artemis as it appeared in Middle-Imperial times. For Beirut: the most important items of the didactic underpinning for museums which have to illustrate, at the very least, the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Umayyad and Ottoman phases up to the French Mandate, affecting the growth of the city itself. For Tunisia: the results obtained at Uthina were presented, also the studies and most innovative proposals for activities in the Cultural and Naturalistic Park of the Maalga and the Punic Ports at Carthage. Finally, for Selinus: the proposals for the Architectural Museum and the Museum for the Selinus Territory.

Dall'avventura alla scienza

Dall'avventura alla scienza. Storia e pratica di un percorso archeologico, Torino, 2004, p. 160, with many illustrations.

The exhibition was conceived and arranged by the Centro Ricerche Archeologiche e Scavi di Torino in the form of a journey which illustrates to the public at large the transformations and goals of contemporary archaeology, utilizing the 40 years of experience and the evolution of the Centro Scavi. This development has been sustained by a scrupulous methodology which has always aimed to ensure that the investigation of the past is supported by scientific certitudes and a reduction in the number of casual discoveries. In the exhibition the scientific methodology of the research provides the thread of the exhibition itself. The journey takes us into two well-defined sections: adventure and science, in other words those moments which represent the chronology of the evolution of archaeological science, from the time when archaeology was to a large extent considered an adventure where the taste for faraway legends set in exotic or little-explored places joined forces with uncritical perusal of literary sources and a taste for beauty, finally arriving at the modern conception of archaeology seen as a science, viewed through the lens of the work of Centro Scavi. Apart from the documentary side, the current methods of investigation for the reconstruction of the historic-cultural background and the quality of life of human societies of the past were illustrated thanks to the electronic support. The exhibition did not present any artifacts, but it did have an innovative, driving thread since it operated as a large interactive laboratory of knowledge and experimentation, making the most of its didactic and informative character with the aid of multimedial supports, reconstruction of situations, reproductions, computer simulations, interactive workstations, film shows, etc.

Sulla via di Alessandro. Da Seleucia al Gandhara

Sulla via di Alessandro. Da Seleucia al Gandhara, Cinisello Balsamo, Silvana Editoriale, 2007, p. 279, with many illustrations.

The catalogue is focused on the meeting of the Greek culture with the millenary cultures of Asia – Mesopotamia, Iran, Indus Valley – and the progressive mutual comparison developed over the centuries that followed Alexander’s enterprise: from the end of the 4th century. B.C. to the beginning of the 3rd century. A.D.. Through specific essays and a catalogue of 231 works of art, one can go over the course that led to the birth of a new figurative language. This language, inspired by the revolutionary concepts introduced in Asia by Greek art and characterized by the contribution of different artistic traditions, became a powerful expression and communication tool, a kind of free language that made it possible to partially realize Alexander’s dream: to unite East and West.

L’Iran dei Parti

L’Iran dei Parti. Scavi a Nisa e materiali archeologici delle collezioni

The brochure collects short texts focused on the objects and images displayed in the exhibition, giving an overview of the artistic and cultural traditions in Parthian Iran.

Ninive. Il Palazzo senza eguali di Sennacherib

Ninive. Il Palazzo senza eguali di Sennacherib, Cinisello Balsamo, Silvana Editoriale, 2007, p. 167, with many illustrations.

At the end of the 8th century B.C. and in the heart of the Assyrian empire, in that Nineveh mentioned in the Bible for its grandeur and subsequent ruin, Sennacherib founded a splendid residence, decorated according to the Assyrian tradition with a cycle of very interesting bas-reliefs. The volume presents the results of a documentation campaign inside the palace royal suite, started in 2002 by the Central Institute for Restoration of Rome and Centro Ricerche Archeologiche e Scavi di Torino per il Medio Oriente e l'Asia in collaboration with the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage of Iraq, the Iraq Museum of Baghdad and the Direction General for the Archaeological Heritage of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities. A first section gathers introductory essays and specific contributions on the works carried out on the bas-reliefs (photogrammetric survey, photographic documentation, petrographic analysis, individuation of the orthostats damage typologies, restoration project). A second section contains a remarkable part of the precious photographic documentation of the site state just before the last war in Iraq.

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