The Cincinnati Art Museum possesses a distinguished collection of ancient art from the Mediterranean region and the Near East. Spanning some four thousand years from the fourth millennium B.C.E. to the early centuries C.E. this notable collection features major examples of stone sculpture, decorated metalwork, painted wall carvings and ceramic vessels from ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. The earliest acquisition of ancient objects was accomplished by the Women’s Art Museum Association in 1886, purchasing Greek and Etruscan antiquities. The museum was also the recipient of objects excavated in ancient Egypt and Sudan by the Egypt Exploration Society as well as donations by major individual donors, including Millard and Edna Shelt and William Tunstall and Louise Taft Semple. Among its Near Eastern archaeological treasures is an exceptional collection of Nabataean sculpture and decorated architecture—the largest collection of material of its kind outside of Jordan.

Featured Objects

Mithraic Relief with Bull

poss. Rome, Italy, 1968.112

Red-Figure Volute Krater with Battle Scene

The Niobid Painter, 1987.4

Mummy Sarcophagus

Egypt (Ptolemaic Period), 1947.275

Roundel with Bust of Atargatis-Tyche and Zodiac

Nabataean, 1939.233

Mihrab (Prayer niche)

Iran or Central Asia, 1971.59

Plate with Youth in Landscape Setting

Northwestern Iran, 1948.147

Dr. Ainsley M. Cameron was appointed Curator of South Asian Art, Islamic Art and Antiquities at the Cincinnati Art Museum in 2017. Cameron completed her doctorate at the University of Oxford in 2010, where her doctoral research focused on the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Rajasthani painting tradition at Devgarh. She also holds an MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, and a BA in Archaeology and History from the University of Toronto. Cameron comes to Cincinnati with extensive professional experience in curatorial practice, having previously held positions at institutions including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the British Museum, and the British Library. She has published, delivered lectures, and organized exhibitions exploring the courtly painting traditions and decorative arts of India, including a major exhibition and catalogue project while at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Drawn from Courtly India: The Conley Harris and Howard Truelove Collection. In Cameron’s role at the Cincinnati Art Museum, she is responsible for the acquisition, research, and display of the museum’s South Asian, Near Eastern, Islamic, and Antiquities collections.