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Afghan art due in U.S.

December 22, 2007|From the Washington Post

They survived the collapse of civilizations and crossed the known world on camelback. Some lay buried for centuries in an Afghan nomad's sepulcher. Others were spirited out of a museum in modern-day Kabul under siege from looters and religious fanatics, then hidden in secret vaults under the presidential palace.

Now, a selection of Afghanistan's ancient artistic treasures -- from a dagger hilt carved with a Siberian bear to Greek coins from an excavated city called Woman of the Moon -- is scheduled to come to Washington next May and continue on a 17-month national tour, according to an announcement by the National Geographic Society and the National Gallery of Art.

The exhibit, which after Washington will travel to museums in New York, San Francisco and Houston, aims to provide a rare glimpse of the long-lost, creative melting pot that Afghanistan once represented -- centuries before it became known to most Westerners as a grim Cold War battlefield and a victim of repression under the Taliban.

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