The Queen of Sheba

'Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels that bore spices, very much gold, and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about all that was in her heart.' (1 Kings 10:1-2)

This is the first reference to the legendary Queen of Sheba. She is thought to have come from the kingdom of Saba (popularly known in English as 'Sheba'), a powerful incense trading kingdom, in the heart of present-day Yemen.

This tour originally accompanied the exhibition Queen of Sheba: Treasures of Ancient Yemen (9 June - 13 October 2002) which examined the Queen of Sheba in art and legend and explored the magnificent civilization that lay behind the myth through archaeological treasures from the ancient kingdoms of South Arabia. The artefacts in the exhibition came from the collections of the British Museum, the American Foundation for the Study of Man (Falls Church, Virginia, USA) and museums across Yemen.

This tour provides an introduction to the different myths of the Queen and to how she is portrayed in works of art from the Renaissance onwards.

Queen of Sheba: Treasures from ancient Yemen was sponsored by Barclays PLC.