My friend, Nigina, accompanied me to the Museum of National Antiquities my first weekend in Dushanbe. Nigina not only works with me, but she also graduated from my grad school the year before I started. Small world!
The museum holds a surprising number of little treasures. Surprising because so often smaller, poor countries, like Tajikistan, have had their national treasures pillaged long before I am able to visit. Tajikistan did not completely escape this fate; however, the small museum did have a few surprising and beautiful piece.
Most well known is the Nirvana Buddha (shown above). We were told that it is the largest Nirvana sleeping Buddha in the world—it is certainly the largest in Central Asia and much larger than I had imagined.
The other piece that was very impressive was the sleeping princess (not pictured). She is a skeleton that was found wearing all her jewels. The skeleton, surprisingly intact, continues to lie in Dushanbe… the jewels however are spread around the world.