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Met exhibit examines origins of civilization in Africa

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Met exhibit examines origins of civilization in Africa
Forty-two masterpieces of African art spanning five millennia are on display at a press preview for "The African Origin of Civilization" exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday in New York City. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Forty-two pieces of African art covering five millennia will be on display starting Tuesday at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

"The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality" exhibit, shown in a press preview Monday, includes artifacts from Egypt dating back to 3650 and 350 B.C., paired with 21 works from sub-Saharan Africa, ranging in date from the 16th to the mid-20th century and representing more than a dozen distinct artistic traditions.

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"Despite the chronological and geographical distance between the works in these two distinct collections, visitors will discern unexpected parallels and contrasts that will deepen their understanding of the breadth and depth of Africa as a source of civilization with unparalleled complexity and longevity," the museum said in a statement.

The artifacts have been discovered in tombs and other archaeological contexts that reflect well-established trade networks between ancient Egypt and Europe and Western Asia. The museum said the interconnections of the civilizations of ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt can be seen by shared motifs and artistic forms.

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"The exhibition serves as a springboard for a series of installations of important sculptures from West and Central Africa in permanent collection galleries across the museum," the museum said. "These' guest appearances' introduce unexpected cross-cultural connections between works of art from different places and times."

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The museum said the first four installations on view in the galleries for Ancient Near Eastern art, Greek and Roman art, Medieval art, and European paintings started Dec. 2. New installations are scheduled to appear later this winter and spring.

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