What secrets of history does the Museum of Fine Arts in Lyon reveal: an overview

By TravelWiseAug 4, 2023 17:23 PMNews
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Museum of Fine Arts in Lyon
Museum of Fine Arts in Lyon. Source: A. Peter Dore

Lyon's location at the confluence of two major rivers, the Rhone and the Saône, explains the city's importance in French history, and this in turn is reflected in its wealth of impressive buildings.

The Musee des Beaux-Arts is also housed in one of Lyon's beautiful old buildings, a former Benedictine abbey. Similar to the architecture of the city itself, the artefacts in this museum span many eras, and the collection is richer than any other in France, with the exception of the Louvre, Daily Sabah writes.

One of the main highlights of the museum is its collection of Luristan bronze. Luristan bronze originates as a tomb from tombs in the north of Luristan in Iran. The objects first gained widespread recognition in the early 20th century, becoming particularly popular among private collectors in the West at the time.

What secrets of history does the Museum of Fine Arts in Lyon reveal: an overview
''Animal Head Bracelet'', iron and bronze, Luristan: 9th to 8th century BC. Source: A. Peter Dore

They placed Luristan on the map in a way that inspired Freya Stark to visit the area. As a result, she became a travel writer. Indeed, in her 1934 debut book, The Valleys of the Assassins and Other Persian Travels, she notes that "all of Europe is now flooded with antiques from Luristan", although she also adds in parentheses that "many of them are fakes".

What secrets of history does the Museum of Fine Arts in Lyon reveal: an overview
''Horse bridle decorated with figures'', Luristan: 9th to 8th century BC. Source: A. Peter Dore

Luristan bronze has also found its way into museums like the Lyon Museum. Dating back to the early part of the first millennium BC, Luristan bronzes belong to the Late Bronze Age and are, of course, similar to bronzes from the same period found in museums around the world. But in another sense, they are unique. That is why in his book, Hirschman notes that "civilisations like the one of the people who made the Luristan bronze and created something completely new for the country are rare."

What secrets of history does the Museum of Fine Arts in Lyon reveal: an overview
''Handle of a knife sharpener'', Luristan: 9th to 8th century BC. Source: A. Peter Dore
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