Bulgaria’s Ancient Thracian, Prehistoric Treasures to Be Shown in ‘Golden Legend’ Exhibit in Japan’s Tokyo, Sendai, and Nagoya
Some of Bulgaria’s most impressive Ancient Thracian archaeological treasures which were part of the recent Bulgarian exhibition on Ancient Thrace in the Louvre Museum in Paris will be exhibited in the Japanese cities Tokyo, Sendai, and Nagoya.
Bulgaria’s Thracian treasures will be part of “The Golden Legend” exhibition which is to take place in Tokyo, Sendai, and Nagoya from October 16, 2015, until May 29, 2016, the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture has announced.
The Culture Ministry states that Bulgaria’s recent Ancient Thracian exhibit in the Louvre in Paris, which was entitled “Thracian Kings’ Epic. Archaeological Discoveries in Bulgaria” (also translated as “The Saga of the Thracian Kings”; in French: L’Épopée des rois thraces Découvertes archéologiques en Bulgarie), has been a “phenomenal success”.
It points out that Japan’s upcoming “Golden Legend” exhibition will feature “very strong Bulgarian participation”.
“The Golden Legend” will show a total of 280 items from 20 museums in Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, the Vatican, France, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, Spain, and Japan.
Some of the museums to contribute artifacts to the Japanese exhibit include the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, the Vatican Museum, the National Prado Museum in Madrid, the National Etruscan Museum in Rome (Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia), the National Archaeological Museum in Florence (Firenze, Museo Archeologico Nazionale), the Orsay Museum in Paris (Musée d’Orsay), and the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology in Sofia.
“The Golden Legend” exhibition will open in Tokyo, at the National Museum of Western Art in Ueno, on October 16 and continue through January 11, 2016. It will subsequently travel to the Miyagi Museum of Art in Sendai from January 22 to March 6, and then to the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art in Nagoya from April 1 to May 29.
Bulgaria’s Ancient Thracian treasures that will be included in “The Golden Legend” exhibition in Japan’s Tokyo, Sendai, and Nagoya come from the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology in Sofia, the Plovdiv Museum of Archaeology, and the Varna Museum of Archaeology (Varna Regional Museum of History).
They include the Valchitran Gold Treasure, several vessels from the Panagyurishte Gold Treasure, and two golden tiaras, and part of the artifacts discovered in the Varna Chalcolithic Necropolis which have been recognized as the world’s oldest processed gold.
The preparation for Bulgaria’s participation in the exhibition in Japan started in 2014 with a visit by Takashi Yizuka from the National Museum of Western Art in Ueno, curator of The Golden Legend exhibit, and Masanori Funahashi from the Japanese newspaper The Tokyo Shimbun.
Bulgaria’s three contributing museums of archaeology – in Sofia, Plovdiv, and Varna – have signed contracts with their Japanese partners for their participation in the joint exhibition.
Another item from Bulgaria’s Ancient Thracian exhibition in the Louvre in Paris, the bronze head of Odrysian King Seuthes III (r. ca. 331 – ca. 300 BC), is presently on display in the exhibition “Power and Pathos. Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World” in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. However, it seems that there is little recognition that the impressive statue is associated with either Ancient Thrace, or Bulgaria.
Also check out our stories about Bulgaria’s Ancient Thracian exhibit in the Louvre Museum in Paris:
The Ancient Thracians were an ethno-cultural group of Indo-European tribes inhabiting much of Southeast Europe from about the middle of the second millennium BC to about the 6th century AD on the territory of modern-day Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Greece, Turkey, Macedonia, Serbia.
The Odrysian Kingdom, a union of Thracian tribes dominated by the tribe of the Odrysians (also known as Odrysea or Odrysai bearing the name of a mythical ruler, Odryses or Odrisis, (ca. 715 – ca. 650 AD)), was one of the two most powerful states of the Ancient Thracians. It existed from the unification of many Thracian tribes by a single ruler, King Teres, in the 5th century BC till its conquest by the Romans in 46 AD on the territory of most of modern-day Bulgaria, Northern Greece, Southeastern Romania, and Northwestern Turkey.
The Panagyurishte Treasure, also known as the Panagyurishte Gold Treasure, was found in 1949 by three brothers – Pavel, Petko and Mihail Deikovi, who worked together near the Merul tile factory in the town of Panagyurishte, Plovdiv District, in Southern Bulgaria.
The treasure consists of a phial, an amphora and seven rhyta with a combined total weight of 6.164 kg of 23-karat gold. All of the artifacts are richly decorated with scenes from the Thracian mythology, customs and life. It is dated to the 4th-3rd centuries BC, and is thought to have been used as a royal ceremonial set by the Thracian king Seuthes III (r. ca. 331-ca. 300 BC).
The Valchitran Gold Treasure was found in 1925 by accident in a vineyard near the town of Valchitran, Pleven District, in Northern Bulgaria. It is the largest Ancient Thracian gold treasure to have ever been found in Bulgaria. Its total weight is 12.5 kg, and its gold content is 88.15%, with the rest being silver and copper.
The treasure consists of 13 vessels, including seven vessels in the shape of lids, four cups (one large, three smaller ones), a vessel consisting of three leaf-shaped interconnected vessels, and a krater similar to a kantharos (a large cup with a pair of handles) weighting 4.5 kg.
The Valchitran Gold Treasure is dated to the 16th-12th century BC, i.e. the end of the Bronze Age. It is believed that the gold vessels were used for religious rituals by Thracian priest-kings. The treasure is part of the collection of the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology in Sofia; a replica can be seen in the Regional Museum of History in Pleven.