Past Temporary Exhibition
Georgia, cradle of viticulture
From 31 July to 5 November 2017, La Cité du Vin is presenting its very first ‘Guest Wine Region’ temporary exhibition and invites you to visit Georgia and discover an ancient culture that forms the roots of modern winegrowing and winemaking.
Produced by the Georgian State and the Georgian National Museum in Tbilisi, this exhibition will showcase 125 archaeological and ethnographical exhibits, works of art as well as period photographs from the Georgian National Museum collections. All of them illustrate the key role which wine and vine play in Georgian culture, firmly rooted in the past yet resolutely forward-looking.
Numerous events attached to the exhibition will punctuate life at La Cité du Vin throughout the exhibition period: a concert, a film, a festive event, conferences, as well as Georgian wine-tasting and grape variety discovery workshops.
The first ‘Guest Wine Region’ exhibition at La Cité du Vin focuses on Georgia, the small republic located next to the Black Sea, tucked away at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains, between Europe and Asia. This exhibition illustrates Georgia’s undying love for and links to wine and the vine across the millennia, via 125 works of art, archaeological and ethnographic objects and heritage photographs all taken from the collections of the Georgian National Museum.
The exhibition is co-organised and financed by the Georgian Ministry of Agriculture, through Mr Levan Davitashvili, Minister of Agriculture, and Ms Ecaterine Siradze-Delaunay, the Georgian Ambassador to France. The project is supported by the National Wine Agency, the Georgian Wine Association, and the National Intellectual Property Center of Georgia («Sakpatenti»).
This exhibition focuses on four key themes
The exhibition design was devised by Lina Lopez, a Franco-Colombian artist, freelance curator and museographer. Lina Lopez has more than 20 years of experience in organising, producing and designing art exhibitions, and in museum layout.
THE ROOTS OF GEORGIAN WINE CULTURE
Numerous archaeological findings attest to a proven and recognised human presence in the country’s south-eastern region since the Palaeolithic era. It’s in this region, on a Neolithic site belonging to the so-called Shulaveri-Shomutepe culture, where discoveries have allowed to prove Georgia’s origins in wine-making. The following era, the Neolithic period, is characterised in Georgia by significant agricultural, economic and vinicultural development. Through the archaeological discoveries of the Bronze Age, you can find out how agriculture and metallurgy, the two main branches of the economy in this era, contributed considerably to the development of Georgian wine growing.
WINE AND ROYALTIES
The territory we now know as Georgia has been home to two significant kingdoms during the ancient times: the Kingdom of Colchis and the Kingdom of Iberia. The discovery of many ornamental, decorative and everyday objects in bronze and gold from these two periods testifies to the wealth and opulence of the times. The great variety and original shapes of the vessels used for wine and for the local elite’s funeral rites and rich tombs testify to the importance of portraying vines and wine during these periods.
THE IMPORTANCE OF WINE IN RELIGIOUS BELIEFS
During the pre-christian period, wine and vines are extensively depicted alongside zoomorphic and anthropomorphic divinities on objects of rites and worship, as well as on objects from everyday life. During the christian period, Saint Nino left Cappadocia (Turkey) in the 4th century to evangelise Georgia with the Grapevine Cross made with vine branches. This cross has become the symbol of the Georgian apostolic church. The sacred union between the vine and the tree of life is displayed on archaeological objects used for worship, as well as in the architecture of Georgia’s traditional marani cellar, and on the frescoes and exterior.
WINE IN EVERYDAY LIFE
Grapevines have always been part of the daily lives of Georgians. The marani, Georgian wine cellar found in single family houses, has kept its sacred and religious importance throughout the centuries. The Georgian tradition of producing wine in terracotta jars called qvevri is totally unique. UNESCO has included this ancient and traditional method of Georgian winemaking in its Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) list. What’s more, this exhibition will give you the opportunity to learn more about Georgian history and everyday life from the mid-19th century until the early 20th century through the exceptional collection of photographs by Dimitri Ermakov, a key ethnographic, archaeological and cultural source on Caucasian history.
- Statuette de «Tamada», Bronze, H. : 7,5 cm, Vani, VIIe-VIe siècle av. J.-C. © Musée National de Géorgie
- Coupe hémisphérique avec large pied, Céramique monochrome, H. : 10 cm, Tbilisi, XIIe – XIIIe siècle © Musée National de Géorgie
- Sarments de vigne enveloppés de feuilles d’argent, Bois, argent, L. : 6,5 cm, Bedeni, Seconde moitié du IIIe millénaire avant J.-C. © Musée National de Géorgie
- Pendentif en forme de tête de bélier, Bronze, L : 15,4 cm, Brili, Fin du IIe millénaire av J.-C. © Musée National de Géorgie
- Jarre, Argile, D : 21 cm / H : 30 cm, Gomareti, IVe siècle avant J.-C. © Musée National de Géorgie
- Coupe vinaire avec poignée stylisée, Céramique, H. : 10,8 cm / D. : 6 cm, Vani, VIIIe-VIIe siècle av J.-C. © Musée National de Géorgie
- Applique, visage de satyre, Bronze, H. : 12,4 cm / L. : 10,5 cm, Vani, Deuxième moitié du IIe siècle avant J.-C. © Musée National de Géorgie
- Ryton, Terre cuite, H. : 13,5 cm / L. : 20 cm, Sagarejo, IVe-IIIe siècle avant J.-C. © Musée National de Géorgie
- Pichet “Marani”, Argile, H. : 19 cm / D. : 9 cm, XXe siècle © Musée National de Géorgie
- Vaisselle, Céramique noire émaillée, H. : 21,5 cm / D. : 15 cm, Takhtidziri, IVe - IIIe siècle avant J.-C. © Musée National de Géorgie