The world’s most exclusive exhibition of equine art and artifacts goes on display at Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY on May 29 through October 15, 2010, in conjunction with the FEI World Equestrian Games.

Sponsored by the Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation, to showcase the impact of the Arabian Horse throughout the ages, A Gift from the Desert features more than 400 pieces from museums and private lenders around the world, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Oxford University, the Ashmolean Museum, the Egyptian Museum of Cairo, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the National Museum of Warsaw, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the American Museum of Natural History.

“In a world where differences between cultures are often the cause of fear, this exhibit will be a celebration of a common bond that unites people of widely divergent backgrounds – the mutual love and admiration we all share for the glorious Arabian horse,” said John Nicholson, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Park.

Among the priceless works of art and artifacts are the Standard of Ur (circa 2,600 BCE), the first depiction of equine driving; and the Kikkuli tablet, the world’s earliest known treatise on horse care and training from the Hittite civilization.

Some items are expected to be particularly popular with visitors, including the robes and dagger used by T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) in his famous march across the desert; an outstanding collection of Orientalist paintings depicting Near Eastern life and equestrian culture; depictions of the earliest Arabian-type horses from Egypt’s New Kingdom; and a stunning selection, many bejeweled, of saddles, tack, armor, and arms from the Ottoman Empire.

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