The ’Hungarians on the Silk Road’ exhibition, which had been open for two months and visited by more than 4000 people, presented the work of two Hungarian explorers, Aurél Stein and Count Béla Széchenyi, through original and modern images and written accounts.
Béla Széchenyi (son of the famous 19th-century reform politician István Széchenyi) and Aurél Stein led four major expeditions between 1877 and 1916 to the region noted for the route connecting China with the Mediterranean. Széchenyi arrived in the Dunhuang region of China in 1879 to carry out geological explorations, later resumed by Stein.
Thanks to Ágnes Kelecsényi, leader of the Eastern Collection of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the exhibition could be viewed with curatorial guidance on five occasions. The program generated enormous interest; the exhibition hall was constantly full and the related programs were highly popular, too.
In addition to the guided tours, Ágnes Kelecsényi held a series of lectures, organised by the Ybl Creative House Buda and the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts , about the life and research of Stein, a legendary archaeologist of the Silk Road.
The Hungarians on the Silk Road exhibition inspired this year’s first Kreatív Kuckó (Creative Hut – a program for children) activity at the Ybl Creative House Buda. During the activity Szilvia Gábler, restorer of the Aquincum Museum, taught children how to make their own copies of the small clay objects once sold on the Silk Road. The group used photos of animal figures, small statues and a Buddha statue as models.
By exploring the artefacts and documents of the special culture created in the Silk Road’s spiritual melting pot, Stein brought the Eastern world closer to Europe. The exhibition of the Oriental Collection of the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Pallas Athene Innovation and Geopolitical Foundation (PAIGEO), in cooperation with the Dunhuang Academy of China, presented a comprehensive picture of the history and culture of the Silk Road. On the 100th and 75th anniversary, respectively, of the death of the two world-renowned archaeologists, Széchenyi and Stein, visitors were guided through an imaginary journey by historical photographs, maps, letters, manuscripts, contemporary and modern publications and films made at the sites of their discoveries.
The “Hungarians on the Silk Road” exhibition continues this year to other locations: in February 2019 it will be introduced at the Library of the University of Szeged, then it will be showcased in Eger and Pécs as well. According to the plans it will be taken to be showcased abroad as well.