Millions of art lovers from around the world will get the chance to see one of the most significant archaeological finds from the Dadan region of AlUla at one of the most famous galleries on the planet.
The ‘Monumental Statue’ goes on show at the Louvre in Paris for the next five years as part of a partnership between Saudi Arabia and France and is set to become the focal point of the Near Eastern Antiquities Gallery.
The imposing, larger than life sandstone statue, which dates back to the 5th-3rd century BC, stands at 2.3m tall and weighs in at 800kg. It is thought to depict a Lihyanite king, with its sculptor demonstrating great prowess in carving intricate details showing the muscles of the torso, abdomen and what remains of the muscles of the arms and legs – it no longer has its head, neck, hands or feet while its arms are close to each side.
The Monumental Statue, which is being loaned by the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), will showcase Saudi Arabia’s rich and ancient history to the Louvre’s 9.6 million annual visitors, becoming the first item of global archaeological interest from AlUla to go on long-term public display in Paris.
It highlights the ongoing archaeological and preservation work in the region and the opportunity for international museums to have access to cultural and historic content from the Arabian Peninsula.
Further collaborations between the RCU and leading French heritage, research, and educational institutions are expected as a result. The RCU has overseen many archaeological projects since it was established in 2017, with discoveries of great significance to regional and global history being made by an international team of experts.
Part of the AlUla Valley today, Dadan was one of the most important trade route stations about 2,800 years ago. It was ruled by the kings of the tribe of Lihyan who held on to power for several centuries from the second half of the first millennium BC.