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The Met's collection of photographs, numbering more than 25,000 in total, is centered on five major collections plus additional acquisitions by the museum. Alfred Stieglitz, a photographer himself, donated the first major collection of photographs to the museum, which included a comprehensive survey of Photo-Secessionist works, a rich set of master prints by Edward Steichen, and an outstanding collection of Stieglitz's photographs from his own studio. The Met supplemented Stieglitz's gift with the 8,500-piece Gilman Paper Company Collection, the Rubel Collection, and the Ford Motor Company Collection, which respectively provided the collection with early French and American photography, early British photography, and post-WWI American and European photography. The museum also acquired Walker Evans's personal collection of photographs, a particular coup considering the high demand for his works. The department of photography was founded in 1992. Though the department gained a permanent gallery in 1997, not all of the department's holdings are on display at any given time, due to the sensitive materials represented in the photography collection. However, the Photographs department has produced some of the best-received temporary exhibits in the Met's recent past, including a Diane Arbus retrospective and an extensive show devoted to spirit photography. In 2007, the museum designated a gallery exclusively for the exhibition of photographs made after 1960.
Although the collections centre on Mesopotamia, most of the surrounding areas are well represented. The Achaemenid collection was enhanced with the addition of the Oxus Treasure in 1897 and objects excavated by the German scholar Ernst Herzfeld and the Hungarian-British explorer Sir Aurel Stein. Reliefs and sculptures from the site of Persepolis were donated by Sir Gore Ouseley in 1825 and the 5th Earl of Aberdeen in 1861 and the museum received part of a pot-hoard of jewellery from Pasargadae as the division of finds in 1963 and part of the Ziwiye hoard in 1971. A large column base from the One Hundred Column Hall at Persepolis was acquired in exchange from the Oriental Institute, Chicago. Moreover, the museum has been able to acquire one of the greatest assemblages of Achaemenid silverware in the world. The later Sasanian Empire is also well represented by ornate silver plates and cups, many representing ruling monarchs hunting lions and deer. Phoenician antiquities come from across the region, but the Tharros collection from Sardinia, the hoard of 16 metal bowls and hundreds of ivories from Nimrud and the large number of Phoenician stelae from Carthage and Maghrawa are outstanding. The number of Phoenician inscriptions from sites across Cyprus is also considerable, and include artefacts found at the Kition necropolis (with the two Kition Tariffs having the longest Phoenician inscription discovered on the island), the Idalion temple site and two bilingual pedestals found at Tamassos. Another often overlooked highlight is Yemeni antiquities, the finest collection outside that country. Furthermore, the museum has a representative collection of Dilmun and Parthian material excavated from various burial mounds at the ancient sites of A'ali and Shakhura (that included a Roman ribbed glass bowl) in Bahrain. 59ce067264