Arts & Culture

‘Perfumes of the East’ Exhibition Displays Arab Heritage in Riyadh

“Perfumes of the East” exhibition has on Tuesday opened its doors at the National Museum in Riyadh, reported the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The exhibition is held under the patronage of Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, and in partnership with the Arab World Institute in Paris.

Immersive Experience

The exhibition takes its visitors on a captivating journey to explore the history of the deeply-rooted relation between the Arab world and perfumes. It highlights the unique fragrances of the East and the old traditions that gave perfumes social significance in Arab culture.

“Perfumes of the East” gives prominence to the cultural and historical significance of perfumes in the Arab world. It provides insights into perfume origins in the Arabian Peninsula, where precious fragrances were collected and traded with ancient societies.

The exhibition showcases over 200 ancient and contemporary artifacts and artworks. They weave a captivating narrative about this enduring relationship between the Arab world and perfume.

Visitors’ journey at the exhibition starts with discovering the raw beauty of nature. Then it takes them through town streets, and finally into the intimate setting of a private home.

'Perfumes of the East' Exhibition Displays Arab Heritage in Riyadh
Perfumes of the East exhibition

The exhibition’s design aims to strike a harmonious balance between the senses of sight and smell. It deploys innovative devices that release especially crafted perfumes, made by the world-renowned perfumer Christopher Sheldrake, specifically for this exhibition.

From Paris to Riyadh

According to Arab News, the French ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ludovic Pouille, and Christophe Farnaud, the EU ambassador, as well as other delegates from the Arab World Institute, leaders from the Ministry of Culture and the Museums Commission, and artists from the Kingdom, the Arab world and France attended the opening ceremony.

Pouille said: “Perfumes of the East is an amazing exhibition, which was brought from Paris to Riyadh.”

“It is about heritage, the Saudi traditions, and I am fond of it,” he added.

'Perfumes of the East' Exhibition Displays Arab Heritage in Riyadh
Perfumes of the East exhibition

“It is amazing because you mix history and also artworks. You have artists who have been part of this exhibition, and this is the beauty of it. It is not just the history of perfumes in the Middle East, it is more than that,” Pouille said.

Riyadh is the first international stop for “Perfumes of the East.” The exhibition welcomes visitors until September 14, 2024. It comes in line with the National Museum’s commitment to celebrating Saudi Arabia’s rich cultural heritage and the enduring legacy of Arab and Islamic civilization.

It offers an educational and cultural experience through the accompanying workshops and seminars that examine the composition of various perfumes, the intricate process behind their production, and the artistic design of perfume packaging.

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