Rare Oriental Antiques from the New York Met Welcomed at The Louvre

Rare Oriental Antiques from the New York Met Welcomed at The Louvre

The Louvre’s department of oriental antiquities will be enriched with the addition of works from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) in New York. An exhibition showcasing a comparison of the two collections will be available to the public starting Thursday, February 29.

The Louvre has been granted an exceptional loan of ten major works of oriental antiquities from the Met, which is currently closed for renovation. These works will be seamlessly integrated into the Louvre’s department of oriental antiquities. They will not only complement the existing collection but also provide valuable insight into the specific history of each piece.

From Thursday, February 29, the public will have the opportunity to view an exhibition that compares the two collections. This exhibition will feature works from the Met’s Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art, which dates back to the end of the 4th millennium BC and the 5th century AD. The exhibition will take the audience on a journey from Iran to Mesopotamia and offer a unique perspective on the Louvre’s vast collection, which comprises 150,000 pieces.

Ariane Thomas, the French curator of the exhibition, provides an example of the enriching impact of this collaboration. A fragment preserved at the Louvre that was discovered during excavations at Tello, in Mesopotamia, has helped attribute and date a head acquired by the Met. Conversely, this head has shed light on the fragment found in the Louvre.

Among the highlights of the exhibition is a rare example of Mesopotamian goldsmithing. Kim Benzel, the American curator of the exhibition, describes it as a mixed collection of jewelry pieces discovered in a monetary stash, which has been presented by the Met as a necklace for many years. The exhibition provides an opportunity to debunk this myth and reveal that the large pendants were melted down, some remained unfinished, or were reused.

This collaboration with the Louvre is a unique opportunity for the Met during its renovation. It will help devise a completely new presentation of the works when the department of oriental antiquities reopens at the end of 2026, concludes the American curator.