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Reference No: BK918
"Queen of Sheba: Treasures from Ancient Yemen" St. John Simpson
Price : $ 40
EUR 36.84 GBP 31.55 AUD 61.04
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The myth, mystery and majesty of the Queen of Sheba is protrayed in this fully-illustrated exhibition catalogue from the British museum.   The catalogue’s author, Dr. St John Simpson, assistant keeper, Department of the Ancient Near East at the British Museum shares the essential elements of all the different stories about the Queen of Sheba, details of archaeological discoveries and discussion on artwork influenced by the Queen of Sheba myth from the ancient kingdom of Saba, one of the early kingdoms of Southern Arabia and now present-day Yemen.  He covers the incense trade, agriculture, arts, architecture, languages and writing, religion and death and funerary practices.  Jewish, Christian, Ethiopian and Islamic traditions dwell on different attributes, giving rise to a rich artistic vein.

This catalogue focuses on the significance and splendor of the mythical Queen of Sheba, legendary ruler of Saba, and the ancient kingdoms that prospered under her reign through commodity trade to Jerusalem and the Roman Empire. Viewed as a figure of beauty and seduction, the Queen is referred to in the Old Testament as bringing great riches to the court of King Solomon in Jerusalem. According to legend, Solomon married the Queen around 950 BC after she became enthralled by the magnificence and majesty of his palace.

"There are many interpretations of the Queen of Sheba legend, which makes this story so fascinating and compelling,” says exhibition curator St John Simpson.

“When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relation to the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions. Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan -- with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones – she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind ." (1 Kings 10)

The early history and cultural development of Sheba’s ancient civilization are explored in this catalogue through new archaeological discoveries, demonstrating the existence of a rich Bronze Age culture. Featuring spectacular treasures chosen from the breathtaking collections of the 250-year-old British Museum, the catalogue includes a striking 1st century alabaster head of a woman (revealing the attitudes regarding death and the afterlife) together with a bronze head of a male lent by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. 

Exhibitions at the British Museum are always accompanied by catalogues, which are often worthwhile books in their own right; this one is no exception and would serve very well as an introduction to the subject. Over 300 items are described and illustrated with colour photographs and the production is beautiful throughout. 304p, 290 col., 40 b/w illus. (Bowers Museum of Cultural Art 2004)