The ancient Near East, a region extending from the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea to present-day Afghanistan, was home to several of the world’s oldest civilizations. Favored with an abundance of natural resources, the people of this region developed metalworking and pottery making to a level of sophistication unknown elsewhere at the time. Today, few museums of Asian art boast collections of Near Eastern art as rich as those of the Freer and Sackler. More than 1,100 objects span from 5000 BCE to the advent of Islam in 651. Highlights include ancient Iranian ceramics, one of the finest holdings of Achaemenid and Sasanian silver vessels in the West, and more than two hundred seals.