Ancient Bactria, located in today’s northern Afghanistan and southern Uzbekistan, was an important feature on the Silk Road. It was later the end point of Alexander the Great’s incursion into the Indian sub-continent. Strange, beautiful stone objects were created by Bactrian artists who may have been influenced by the sophisticated Mesopotamian cultures of the Fertile Crescent. Their precise use is unclear—they may have been weights, ceremonial cult objects or just sublime art objects appreciated for the beauty of the stone and economical form.

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