Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 July 2019

Ancient Mexican artefacts on show at Qasr Al Watan in Abu Dhabi – in pictures

A new exhibition of priceless historical treasures recently went on show in the capital's landmark library

A new exhibition of ancient Mexican artefacts has gone on display at the Qasr Al Watan Library. Codices of Mexico: The Old Books of the New World brings to the region for the first time a number of priceless pre-Hispanic codices, ancient manuscript texts in book form dating back to between the third and 16th centuries.

Look through the photo gallery above to see more from the exhibition

The codices are said to be the "most important and best-preserved surviving examples of their kind," the announcement reads. They're on loan from collections of institutions around the world, including the Museo Nacional de Antropologia in Mexico City, the National Library of France in Paris and Italy's Florence National Central Library.

Ancestral wisdom that stems from the native people of Mexico are seen in the pages of the codices, and these are still used by scholars today as a historical resource. Complex belief systems and life knowledge – ranging from geographical to historical and economic – are written and painted on a variety of materials, including amate (or tree bark) paper, animal skin, maguey fibre and cotton.

"We are very proud to be hosting this significant exhibition in our newly opened landmark," says Saif Saeed Ghobash, undersecretary of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi. "The splendour of the Presidential Palace is an appropriate setting for a display of objects of such great historical and cultural significance.

"Codices of Mexico is an excellent example of embracing and appreciating the culture and history of another country, as we are keen to display priceless treasures from around the world under one roof to the public... We strive to provide a suitable environment for cultural growth and prosperity, which is consistent with the principles of the Year of Tolerance."

The Palace of the Nation

Qasr Al Watan, or Palace of the Nation, at the Presidential Palace compound opened its doors to the public earlier this year. The decision to create the new cultural landmark came as a bid to boost cultural understanding of the UAE.

It houses the formal offices of the UAE's President and Vice President and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and has also played host to a roster of global leaders since 2015. The Presidential Palace is the official meeting place for the UAE Cabinet and the Federal Supreme Council – the highest constitutional authority in the UAE.

Throughout Ramadan, the palace and library are open between 11am and 6pm. Outside of the holy month, opening hours run from 10am to 8pm.

A palace and garden ticket, which gives you access to all public spaces, inside and out, costs Dh60 for an adult and Dh30 for children aged four to 17 years. Alternatively, a garden only ticket to access the grounds and visitor centre costs Dh25 for adults and Dh12 for juniors.

Once you are on the grounds, there is an option to book onto a tour. Standard guided English or Arabic tours, directed by a tour guide, run every 30 minutes and cost Dh30 per visitor. Numbers will be limited to 20 visitors per tour. Alternatively, individuals or groups of up to 20 can arrange for a private guided tour in either English or Arabic for Dh600.

Updated: May 14, 2019 04:54 PM

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