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10,000 Years of Luxury

Start Date 30 October 2019
End Date 18 February 2020
Venue Louvre Abu Dhabi
Location Abu Dhabi, UAE
Curator Olivier Gabet
Designer Adrien Gardère
Exhibition display of textiles, ornate objects and dressed mannequins in cases


Running from 30 October 2019 to 18 February 2020, the popular 10,000 Years of Luxury exhibition questioned

What is, and what was luxury?

This was a story that celebrated a world history of the lavish and the luxurious through 350 extraordinary objects – fashion, jewellery, art, furniture, design and more.

Spanning thousands of years, visitors were invited to marvel at the ways in which luxury has been interpreted by diverse cultures: from extravagant offerings for the divine,, to golden furniture fit for royalty and the iconic couture of fashion houses and virtuoso objects of luxury houses, as Christian Dior, Chanel, Cartier, Balenciaga and Hermès. Visitors could discover how different cultures defined luxury and the impact of such excess on the evolution of society, as a way to undermine or underline the status quo. 10,000 Years of Luxury explored what elevates an object to the realm of precious – be it time, craftsmanship, or rarity.

The exhibition opened with two landmark pieces illustrating the history of Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Pearl, the oldest pearl in the world, dating back to c. 5,800 – 5,600 BCE, discovered on Marawah Island, Abu Dhabi in 2017 and lent from the collection of Zayed National Museum; and an antique natural pearl necklace that belonged to Arab diva Umm Kulthum, also loaned from the collection of Zayed National Museum. The Abu Dhabi Pearl is a proof that pearls and oysters were used in the UAE nearly 8,000 years ago and represents the earliest known evidence for pearling found anywhere in the world.

Drawing on the collections of Musée des Arts Décoratifs and other French museums, including Musée du Louvre and Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, this exhibition offered a rare chance to glimpse, revel in and evaluate true luxury.

The exhibition was curated by Olivier Gabet, Deputy Managing Director of Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Scenography of the exhibition is by studio Adrien Gardère.

Images courtesy of Louvre Abu Dhabi

Press release