Aristocrats before the birth of Christ

There is one darkened corridor in the Musee Guimet which will take your breath away, as it winks at you with a glittering light.

This exhibition is not only about gold – there is also fabulous Indian-looking ivory and Egyptian glass.

But the gold cannot help stealing the show.

This is the treasure of Tilya Tepe, the Hill of Gold, from near the Oxus river in northern Afghanistan – and it has quite a story to tell.

Called the Bactrian Gold, after the area at the crossroads of the trade routes between China, India and the Mediterranean, it was unearthed in 1978 by a Russian team.

They had found the graves of nomadic aristocrats who died about the time of the birth of Christ. More than 20,000 individual gold items – from tiny beads and hearts sown onto costume, to the shimmering golden crown of a queen. Even golden sandals.