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University of Central Missouri
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UCM’s Nance Middle East Collection Included in International Exhibit

Contact Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (March 2, 2010) – UCM has been invited to make a significant contribution to a landmark art exhibit celebrating the impact of the Arabian horse on civilizations of the Near East and Islamic worlds.

Arabian dress

A traditional Bedouin dress from central and western Saudi Arabia, made of black cotton with Bedouin beadwork, silver crimping and embroidery, is one of more than 60 items from UCM’s Nance Middle East Collection that will be part of the exhibit.

Artifacts from the Nance Middle East Collection, which is housed in the Arthur F. McClure II Archives and University Museum in the James C. Kirkpatrick Library at UCM, will be part of an exhibition of more than 400 objects that will make up “A Gift from the Desert: The Art, History and Culture of the Arabian Horse.” The exhibit will be presented May 29-Oct. 15 by the Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation at the International Museum of the Horse, a Smithsonian affiliate at the Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, KY.

According to Amber Clifford-Napoleone, curator of the Nance Collection at UCM, a total of 64 pieces from the collection will be on loan to the exhibit, including a cross section of traditional Bedouin artifacts, jewelry, basketry and textiles.

The exhibit will be comprised of artifacts and works of art from 27 museums and private lenders, including the National Museum of Riyadh, King Saud University’s Museum of Archaeology, the British Museum, the Furusiyya Art Foundation, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Egyptian Museum and Islamic Museum of Art in Cairo, Oxford University, the National Museum of Warsaw, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the American Museum of Natural History.

Objects will be on display from England, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, Poland, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Syria, Turkey and Uzbekistan, many of which have never before left their native countries or been on display in the United States.

“The Arabian horse is one of the ancient breeds, appearing in Egyptian art more than 3,400 years ago,” said Sandra Olsen, curator of anthropology at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pa., and curator of the exhibition. “This exhibit explores the earliest arrival of the horse into the Near East, its spread onto the Arabian Peninsula and its enormous significance for the cultures of the region from its arrival until current times.”

Nance collection coffee pots

Three 100-year-old traditional Arabian coffee pots, or dhallah, made of copper and brass and used for the traditional coffee ceremony, also will be included in the exhibit.

“We have long known that the Nance Collection, donated to UCM by Paul and Colleen Nance, represents a treasure trove of priceless artifacts for teaching and learning, but to have this knowledge affirmed by the inclusion of select items from the collection in this landmark exhibition is gratifying,” said Gersham Nelson, dean of the UCM College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. “Thousands of visitors to the International Museum of the Horse in Kentucky will get to see a small sample of our distinctive collection. This helps to reaffirm our vision of having a facility in which to more appropriately house and display this invaluable research and instructional resource.”

“It is truly an honor to be invited to share the Nance Collection in this international exhibit,” Clifford-Napoleone said. “The worldwide reputation of the Nance Collection makes it a significant part of the story to be told by this exhibit. We’re proud to be included.”

The Kentucky Horse Park is a working horse farm, theme park and equine competition facility dedicated to man’s relationship with the horse. The park is an agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, hosting more than 900,000 visitors annually and 100 special events and horse shows since 2008.

The park, located north of Lexington, is open daily March 15 to Oct. 31, and Wednesday through Sunday Nov. 1 to March 14.