Hamid Naweed: Afghan Lapis Lazuli and the Shrines of Power

Hamid Naweed: Afghan Lapis Lazuli and the Shrines of Power

06 February 2019

Elizabeth Lee

Originally found in the mountains of Afghanistan, lapis lazuli is one of the oldest and most valued gemstones for millennia. The vivid blue stone came to appear in shrines of power and prestige – from ancient Assyrian statues, to the mosque of Heart and even in Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings.

Professor Hamid Naweed, a Fulbright scholar and author of ‘Art through the Ages in Afghanistan‘, joined us at Asia House on 22 January to present a fascinating history of lapis lazuli and humankind’s obsession with it. Tracing its journey from ancient Afghanistan to the rest of the world, Professor Naweed provided insight into the artwork, jewellery, ornaments, buildings and temples where the gemstone featured and became a symbol of high status and wealth.

Professor Naweed was a professor at the Fine Arts Department of Kabul University and is now an honorary member of the High Counsel of Arts, and the Center for Contemporary in Arts Afghanistan. He has authored a number of scholarly essays on the art and culture of Afghanistan and the region and is involved with organisations that promote art and cultural heritage in Afghanistan and around the world. In September 2018 he published the first volume of his book ‘Art through the Ages in Afghanistan’ in Dari. 

Watch the full event below

This event was part of the Asia House 2019 Winter Arts & Learning Programme