"Readers of the Bible probably know the Hittites as a people who were a source of land and wives for Old Testament patriarchs--including King David, who ordered the beautiful Bathsheba into his bed and then arranged for the death of Uriah, her inconvenient Hittite husband. But Hittites were not always ill-fated bit players in someone else's story. According to information provided at Three Great Civilizations in Turkey, an art exhibition now at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Hittites had their time in the sun from the 20th to 13th centuries B.C. They were the first people to use iron, and they controlled an area that corresponds with present-day Turkey and Syria. Of the subsequent empires and kingdoms to ebb and flow across what is now Turkey, two more are featured in this show: the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. "
In addition to figurines and statuettes, the exhibition includes ceremonial vessels, official seals and 22 clay writing tablets. They include letters, legal codes and instructions on how to train horses or conduct birth rituals.
The exhibition will be held at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Fukuoka, Oct. 12-Dec. 7 and the Osaka Museum of History in Osaka, Dec. 20-Feb. 16.