Persian artifacts stole headlines last year. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case brought forward by the families of those who were killed in a 1997 bombing in Jerusalem. The plaintiffs are looking to seize ancient Persian artifacts, including the Persepolis tablets, which contain some of the oldest writings in world history and are currently part of museum collections in Chicago. The families argue that these artifacts represent Iranian property located in the U.S., suitable for seizure and restitution for the victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism. Actually, these clay artifacts do not belong to Iran, the defense says, since the notion of Iran did not exist 25 centuries ago. This long-running case has nothing and everything to do with Shaping Clay in Ancient Iran, a survey of ceramics stretching all the way from the Chalcolithic period (5200 BCE–3400 BCE) to the Parthian period (250 BCE–225 CE). In one light, such an epochal exhibition illustrates how thin our contemporary notions of statehood, empire, and borders really are; in another way, it shows indirectly how politics today might influence how museums organize the cultural artifacts of the ancient world going forward. Artifacts are never static. Read more>>> The exhibition is on view to September 2019 at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, 1050 Independence Ave. SW. Free. (202) 633-1000. freersackler.si.edu. (Kriston Capps)
OH AND ALSO
Legendary blues guitarist Buddy Guy performs at The Birchmere. 7:30 p.m. at 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. $115.
The Anthem welcomes genre-blending rocker Lenny Kravitz. 8 p.m. at 901 Wharf St. SW. $75–$125.
House music artist Zhu performs at Echostage. 8 p.m. at 2135 Queens Chapel Road NE. $30.
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