This exhibition is not only about gold - there is also Indian and Egyptian glass. But gold is gold. This is the treasure of the Hill of Gold, from northern Afghanistan. Called the Bactrian Gold, it was discovered in 1978 by a Russian team. They found more than 20,000 individual gold items, including the golden crown of a queen. Even golden sandals.
Soon after, Afghanistan suffered a period of chaos and civil war. For a quarter of a century, Afghanistan’s cultural treasures were stolen by vandals. But finally, in 2004, the gold was found, under piles of old Afghan money. And then international museums began to take the treasure on tour. And so it is now at the Musee Guimet, in Paris. The French have a long history of archaeological work in Afghanistan.
The exhibition will alter perceptions of Afghanistan - it’s not just camels and Kalashnikovs, it’s a fabulous mixture of cultures. There are sculptures of dancing girls. One coin shows Roman dolphins, another shows a Chinese devil. When it returns from its tour, Afghanistan’s golden treasure cannot be shown to Afghans.
They will not see it, for security reasons. What is desperately needed in Afghanistan is money to pay for education, which could be helped by the tour of the treasures. The Guimet Museum is giving one euro for each ticket sold. They expect to sell 50-100,000 tickets. It is not enough but it’s something. So, for many reasons - if you can - go to Paris. Pay your extra euro and remember you’ve had the privilege of seeing what the Afghans cannot see.
1. Write a summary of the text in English, including the most important points, using your own words whenever possible (maximum 40 words).
2. Explain in English the meaning of the following expressions as used in the text.
a) The spectacle will alter perceptions of Afghanistan. People will have a different opinion about / attitude to(wards) Afghanistan if / when / after they visit this exhibition.
b) They will not see it, for security reasons. They cannot / won’t / will not see it because it is not safe / secure.
3. Complete the second sentence of each pair so that it has the same meaning as the first one:
a) Afghanistan’s cultural treasures were stolen by vandals.b) The French have a long history of archaeological work in Afghanistan.
- The French have been doing archaeological work in Afghanistan for a long time.
4. Answer the following questions in your own words. The information must be taken from the text.
a) What problems has Afghanistan had in recent history? In Afghanistan they have had chaos and civil war recently. Also they do not have much security or education.
b) Why is this exhibition good for Afghanistan and its people? The exhibition is good because people will have a better opinion of Afghanistan when they see the beautiful treasures. Also, the museum will give one euro for education in Afghanistan for every ticket they sell.
5. Do you think that you can learn a lot from exhibitions and museums? Why / why not? (Approximately 80 words)
I think that we can learn a lot from museums, because we can see the real things people used in their houses a long time ago, and also the crowns and gold objects that kings and queens had. In this way we can learn how they lived. Exhibitions are interesting because they show us old or modern cars, paintings, coins and stamps. Some exhibitions are good for learning because they are interactive and you can learn about science, plants, machines and so on.