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National Museum, New Delhi

Pre-historic Archaeology Collection

Beyond the banks of Indus and Saraswati rivers, there was a civilization which flourished, it was known as The Indus Valley civilization. It was also popularly known as The Indus – Saraswati valley or Harappa Civilization. This Bronze Age civilization is supposed to be one of the oldest civilizations of India subcontinent. During 20th and 21st centuries excavation of…

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Pre-historic Archaeology Collection

Animal Faced Pregnant Female Vs 33/256 Terracotta Mohenjo-Daro C. 2700-2100 B.C.E 9.4 x 4 cm This strange-looking tiny figurine, a woman’s anatomy and an animal’s face, represents a woman in advanced days of pregnancy. Armless, except the little parts adjacent to shoulders remaining, the woman’s figure has been cast as standing straight with her legs positioned parallel and almost joined. Strangely, she has a muzzle-like elongated animal face, the style of nose in particular. There is a round cavity on the back between joints of hips, below the abdomen. Eyes and nostrils are marked by incision.

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Pre-historic Archaeology Collection

Bull 1539/234 Baked clay Mohenjodaro C. 2500 B.C.E 16 x 6 x 8 cm An endearing form with plumpish build, elongated figure and innocent face this typical animal is one of the two best known styles of bulls that the Indus artisan innovated. This terracotta bull figurine is entirely hand made with cream slip on it. Probably a knife might have been used in shaping the parts of the body and its minute details. It appears to be wearing a garland or plaited rope around its neck.

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Pre-historic Archaeology Collection

Climbing Monkey 11625/216 Terracotta Harappa C. 2500 B.C.E 6 x 4 x 4 cm The figurine represents a monkey as climbing upwards firmly holding in its hands a thin pole, obviously suggestive of a tree-branch. Maybe, the pole is a post-restoration replacement of the tree-branch. The position of arms, legs, tail and neck is very realistically portrayed. The hair on the body, face and spinal column are shown by incised lines. The figurine has a hole between the joined hands and legs to allow him to move up and down along the pole. The end of the tail of the figurine is turned down.

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Pre-historic Archaeology Collection

Dancing Girl 5721/195 C. 2500 B.C.E Mohenjodaro Bronze 10.5 x 5 x 2.5 cm. One of the rarest artifacts in the world, the statue of a young lady now unanimously called ‘Indus dancing girl’, represents a stylistically poised female figure performing a dance. The forward thrust of the left leg and backwards tilted right, the gesture of the hands, demeanor of the face and uplifted head, all speak of absorption in dance, perhaps one of those early styles that combined drama with dance, and dialogue with body-gestures. The statue, recovered in excavation from ‘HR area’ of Mohenjo-Daro. The adornment of her left arm is widely different from the right. The left is covered in entirety with heavy ringed bangles. Besides, the figure has been cast as wearing on her breasts a necklace with four ‘phalis’ like shaped pendants. Though a small work of art, it is impressive and surpasses in plasticity and sensuousness the heavily ornate terracotta figurines.

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Pre-historic Archaeology Collection

Dish-container – on stand H795/A (C) 1450 H 795/A (C) Terracotta Harappa C. 2500 B.C.E Ht- 20.5 cm This deep tray or dish-container, exceptionally finished and polished, is one of the highly accomplished types of polished wares discovered in excavations at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. Most likely it was used as a ritual vessel, an ‘Offering Stand’ or ‘Censer’. It consists of two parts, the tray, or the dish, and the highly artistic stand. As is apparent, both parts have been independently molded on and joined together afterwards using still finer clay. The artifact has been coated with burnished slip ranging in colour from pink to deep red. Though largely washed, the vessel was once decorated all over with beautiful black paintings.

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Pre-historic Archaeology Collection

Male Torso 187/9042 Stone Harappa Circa 2500 BCE 9.2 x 5.5 x 3 cm This torso of a male is carved out of red jaspery-stone. In the frontal pose the abdomen is slightly bulging. The fleshy parts of the body beautify the sculpture. Sockets are provided for fixing the hands, the arms and the nipples to the body which is one of the most interesting features of animated figures, exhibiting highly technical skill of the Harappans. This technique is mainly applied for figures with movable limbs.

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Pre-historic Archaeology Collection

Standing figure of the Mother Goddess D.K. 3506/260 Terracotta Mohenjo-Daro C. 2700-2100 B.C.E 23 x 8.5 cm This large size figurine from Mohenjo-Daro is an excellent example of the technical maturity that Harappan artisans had acquired in clay modeling and baking. The coating of thick red slip seems to have been applied not to just add luster or finish but perhaps also for protecting its surface from erosion. The fan-shaped headdress is like a large pannier cup, which hung on either side can be seen here. The figure is adorned with two necklaces; smaller one has a set of four cylindrical pendants, while the longer one hangs between the breasts. The eyes have been conceived with two round pellets of clay, and the nose as pinched.

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Pre-historic Archaeology Collection

Pasupati Seal DK 5175/143 Steatite Mohenjodaro C. 2500-2400 BC 1-6/16 x 1-6/16x ¼ Inches This seal with anthropomorphic form of ithyphallic Shiva is one of the most significant Indus finds attesting the prevalence of Shiva-cult, his personalized Mahayogi or Pashupati form as also his aniconic ‘ling’ form, as early as Indus days. This seal with buffalo-horned figure almost unanimously identified as Shiva in his form as Pashupati, portrays him as seated cross-legged, in Yogic ‘padmasana’, and wide-armed. Natural enemies, wild and virile animals, buffalo, leaping tiger, rhinoceros and elephant all amicably surround the figure. The un-deciphered script is arranged horizontally in the space above the headdress.

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Pre-historic Archaeology Collection

Seated male in Namaskar pose 3072/388 Terracotta Harappa 2700-2100 B.C.E L: 5 Ht: 4 W: 2 cm It is evident that the Harappan potters and artists portrayed figurines practising exercises and several other postures. This artefact depicts a man seated in Namaskara pose. M.S.Vats, a well-known archaeologist, discovered this male figurine from the excavations at Harappa. It is cream coloured and hand-modeled. The seated male is depicted with legs outstretched and slightly raised knees. Hands are folded in Namaskar mudra and some parts of the feet are missing. His head, mouth and nose are pinched; eyes are depicted with round pellets. The fingers of the hands and the legs are not rendered individually.

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Pre-historic Archaeology Collection

Toy cart HR 13974/222 Clay Harappa C. 2500 B.C.E 11 cm A toy but indexing life’s actual mode, as it was then lived, this plaything, cast in fine clay, assembled using clay wheels and trolley for containing goods, and wooden shafts, is a tiny model of the carts that the Harappan settlers used in their day-today life for transporting their loads, and sometimes also passengers. The toy cart consists of two wheels with hubs, a trolley shaped like a bowl with a rectangular frame and two projections on its underside to attach it to the axel, a wooden shaft, draw-shaft, etc. The wheels and the trolley’s projections are holed for the axle to pass through.

Archaeology Collections

After the Indus Valley Civilization, India came into the age of different rulers and dynasties. During the ancient and medieval period of Indian history, many dynasties like the Maurya, Shunga, Satavahana, Kushana, Gupta, Vardhanas, Pratiharas (in the north), Palas, Sena (in the east), Maitrakas (in the west), Chola, Chalukya, Hoysalas, Vijayanagar, Nayakas (in the south) has…

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Archaeology Collections

Ardhanarisvara 47.109/13 Bronze Vijayanagar, South India 15th Century CE Ht. 71.0 cm., Wd. 33.0 cm., Dep. 25.5 cm. This is a four-armed and three-eyed figure of Ardhanarisvara, standing on a lotus pedestal, with a rectangular base. The arms are bifurcated at the shoulders. The upper right hand holds a parasu (axe) between the first and second fingers in tripataka-mudra (now damaged); the upper left hand holds the stalk of a lotus bud. The lower right hand is at rest (as if on Nandi), the lower left in katyavalambita pose. The hair is braided to the left and arranged in jata-mukuta fashion to the right, with locks falling on the back. A siris-chakra is behind the head.

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Archaeology Collections

Bharata 69.49 Bronze Vijayanagar, South India. 14th Century CE 75.0 cm. x 31.2 cm, x 22.3 cm. Bharata, the younger brother of Rama, is said to have ruled the kingdom of Ayodhya with the latter’s sandals on the throne. This bronze sculpture depicts him carrying Rama’s sandals on his head as he returns after visiting Rama who was in exile. The sandals are placed on a cushion and he himself stands on the double lotus. The hooks on all four sides of the base were used to carry the image in ritual processions.

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Archaeology Collections

Buddha head 47.20 Buff Chunar Sandstone Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh Gupta, 5th century, CE 26.6×16.2×21 cm The sculpture is made in soft buff colored chunar sandstone which showcases the characteristics of the Indian art which developed during the Gupta period. The Buddha head is marked by the most graceful features. Oval face, flat and strained cheeks, thick lips, sharp nose, half closed eyes, hair curls in snails with Usnisa (bun) on the top and elongated earlobes. Aesthetically it combines the highest vision (Drishti) with perfect form (Rupa), emotion (Bhava), grace and charm (Lavanya) and likeliness to ideal (Sadrishya).

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Archaeology Collections

Bhu-Devi 48.4/262 Bronze Nayaka, South India 17th Century CE Ht. 25.3 cm., Wd. 7.7 cm., Dep. 7.3 cm. Bhu Devi, earth-goddess Prithivi, is differentiated by the absence of kuchabandha, makara kundala, and upavita or sacred thread. In this image the last feature is absent. She originally must have been part of a triad, flanking the image of Vishnu on the left along with his other consort, Sri-Devi, on the right.

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Archaeology Collections

Flying Celestial L-55-22 Stone Aihole, Karnataka Western Chalukya, 7th cent. CE. 135x109x23 cms In the Deccan, over one hundred temples were built during the 7th and 8th Century under the early western Chalukyan Empire. Few of these had Jain in affiliation and the rest Hindu, reflecting the religious leanings of different emperors. This is a large slab carved in high relief showing a flying celestial couple. They are lightly floating amidst clouds. The female figure holds a fruit in her right hand in front of the chest and the left arm rests on the shoulder of the male figure.

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Archaeology Collections

Mohini 50.190 Stone Gadag, Karnataka Western Chalukyan , 11th cent. CE. 92x41x18 cm Figure of Mohini is standing in a graceful pose under a fruit bearing tree. The trunk of the tree is to her proper right and a standing dwarf figure with the left hand raised above the head and the left resting on the hip, to her proper left. She is looking in a mirror held in her left hand. Her hair is arranged in schematic spirals, tied into a loop. She is profusely ornamented necklaces of pearls, a breast chain, stanottariya, etc. Her lower garments are fastened at the waist by a double ornamented band from which tassels are suspended.

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Archaeology Collections

Saraswati 1/6/278 Marble Pallu, Bikaner, Rajasthan Chauhan, 12th century CE. 77 x 46 x 22 cm Saraswati, the Goddess of music, learning, eloquence and intelligence is basically the deity of Brahmanical pantheon where she is considered as the Sakti of Brahma. The four armed Saraswati standing on a lotus pedestal holds a lotus, a book, a rosary and a vase in her hands. The lower right hand is in varada mudra. The modelling of her limbs is very soft and delicate. She is bedecked with minutely carved ornaments. The attendant figures and devotees are also around.

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Archaeology Collections

Buddha 87.1153 Schist Provenance Unknown Gandhara, 2nd century CE. Ht. 133.0 cm, wd. 51.0 cm, dep. 21.0 cm A life size stone image of Buddha is standing in abhayamudra. In his left hand he holds the hem of his garments. The present sculpture is typically Gandhara in style- marked by long flowing drapery placed loosely on the body with heavy schematic folds. The robes cover both the shoulders. He bears an urna mark on the forehead. The wavy hair is arranged in top-knot fashion.

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Archaeology Collections

Surya 50.178 Stone Konarak, Orissa Eastern Ganga, 13th century CE. 189.2 x 89 cm This is one of the finest sculptures from the Sun temple of Konark and may have been installed for worship in the sanctum. Surya is depicted standing on a pedestal. He is profusely ornamented. A kirtimukha is seen on top with a pair of flying celestial at the extreme ends. Seven horses are shown on the base in front in three rectangular niches, driven by Aruna who is seated on pedestal. The figure is surrounded by a decorative arch that adds beauty to the image.

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Archaeology Collections

Vishnu E. 6 Stone Mathura, Uttar Pradesh Gupta, 5th century CE. Ht. 109.0 cm, wd. 67.0 cm, dep. 22.0 cm This is a standing figure of Vishnu whose upper part of the body is nude, except that he wears an elaborate crown with mauli-mani on the head, a necklace of large pearls and another composed of beaded multi-strings armlets, ear-pendants, yajnopavita and a beautiful vanamala, passing behind the shoulders and over the arms near the elbows. The lower half of the body is clad in a waist-cloth with loose folds, secured by a cord. Traces of a halo around the head are visible.

Anthropology Collection

National Museum has a vast collection of anthropological artefacts which consist of approximately 8 thousands object of varied material and mediums such as terracotta, textile, Basketry, bone wood, metal, paper, leather, etc. Many antiquities are made of mentioned material and mediums, a few examples of these artefacts are puppets, garments, masks, weapons, utilitarian…

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Anthropology Collection

Diadem with emblems of five cosmic Buddha (Pancha-tathagata) 64.27/A, B, C Embroidered textile, paper Nepal/ Tibet 20th century L. 40.5 cm; Wd. 44.5 cm, H. 17.5 cm This ritualistic diadem plays a prominent role in tantric Buddhist religious ceremonies of Himalayan Buddhist communities. Particularly used as an ensemble in the initiation (abhisheka) ceremony. This crown is embellished with mystic syllables, denoting the five-fold wisdom of the transcendental Buddhas. The following letters are mystical seed syllable (bija) unique to each of the Buddhas – Amitabha (Infinite Light) represented by ‘Hri’, Akshobhya (Unshakeable), etc. These syllables are embroidered separately on five panels within torana-shaped segments.

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Anthropology Collection

Ajilamo Mask 65.429 20th century Arunachal Pradesh, India L. 51.5 cm; Wd 25 cm This unique mask is worn by the Sherdukpen community of Arunachal Pradesh during their version of Ajilamo dance. The Lhamo is a folk opera that was originated in the 14th Century by Saint-Scholar Mahasiddha Thantong Gyalpo in Tibet.The Lhamo was the celestial figure and the queen of Gyeli. During the annual Losar festival, Monpa and Sherdukpens perform this pantomime where they demonstrate the marriage between Lhamo and King Chhoegay Norzang. In the dramatic rhythm of drums and cymbals, tthe distinctive foot, hand, and bodily movements depict the qualities of the Achi Lhamo characters.

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Anthropology Collection

Perak 86.227 Textile, Fur, Semi-precious stones, Silver Ladakh, India 19th century L. 69.5 cm ; Wd 40.5 cm This ornate headdress known as Perak is particularly worn by the Ladakhi ladies. It denotes their marital status, as only married women are allowed to adorn it. It is believed that the Perak drew its origin from the cowrie studded ceremonial Kupa headdress of Pakistan. Once worn, it creates an appearance that resembles the hood of a King Cobra, signifying the women as the custodian of the community. According to folklore, it was the Ladakhi queen who first initiated the tradition of wearing a Perak among the womenfolk of the region.

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Anthropology Collection

Basket (Phen) M01/41 Bamboo, Cane, Natural pigments Arunachal Pradesh, India 19th century H. 47 cm; Dia: 40 cm This round-shaped basket is locally termed as Phen among the Khamtis of Arunachal Pradesh. The basket is comprised of three elements- the lid, tray, and the stand. The offering tray has an additional circular-shaped stand fixed at the bottom. It is provided with a cone-shaped lid with a pointed knob. Both these elements emulate the formation of Buddhist ritual metal jars. Apart from the usage, the technique and aesthetic presentation is also intriguing. The weave and designs of this tray are fashioned from cane and bamboo, made using diagonal plaiting complex twills, dexterously woven into herringbone patterns.

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Anthropology Collection

Earplugs (Thuriya) 59.217/ 57 a,b Gold, Rubies, Green Enamel Assam, India 19th century L: 2.4 cm, Dia. 2 cm Thuriya is a unique pair of two-faced traditional earrings from Assam, which serve as an important ensemble of ‘Axomiya Gahana’ (ethnic Assamese jewellery). This was popularised by Ahoms and traditionally worn by females of all age-groups. This hand-crafted piece is made up of natural lac, encrusted with an enigmatic combination of red-colored rubies and green enamelling, relived with gold leaf (paat-xun) outlining. The front section is crafted in the of a full-bloom lotus with layered petals, while the tube-shaped stem is decorated with geometric patterns.

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Anthropology Collection

Vermilion container (Sindoor-dan) 64.98 Brass Gujarat, India 20th century H. 11.1 cm; L. 15.5 cm This brass container having several compartments for collyrium and vermillion is intricately designed with three peacocks, one over the lid. The top compartment is for collyrium and opens with a lid hinged on one side. This compartment itself can be slid by pushing it aside to open the bottom compartment which is divided into two sections- one for the dry vermillion powder and another for the wet. To close, the upper compartment is slid back to position where it gets automatically locked up under the beak of one of the peacocks.

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Anthropology Collection

Marriage Litter (Rahi) 64.1270 Wood, Cloth Jharkhand, India 20th century H. 146 cm A ceremonial marriage litter of the Santhals, locally referred to as ‘rahi’. It is entirely carved out of wood by the tribal craftsmen, displaying a variety of animal and human figurines. Like every tribal practice, during the creation of the rahi, a certain rituals are performed. When the work commences, two pigeons are sacrificed and after the work is completed, the owner (not necessarily the maker) and his wife sit on it and are carried to the central manjhisthan where two more pigeons or a goat is sacrificed.

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Anthropology Collection

Tent Hanging 70.169 Cotton, Mirror Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India 20th century L. 196.5 cm This piece of intricate embroidery is handiwork that is woven on the silk which acts as a rich base to the embroidery. It is an exclusive fabric of handwoven silk, made using a running stitch which is one of the oldest and simplest forms of stitching. The border is characterized by a row of triangles. In the center, the ground has floral and leaves motifs along with an applique mirror work in its center. Each central flower pattern is enclosed by a square called “Chitkis”, triangular and rectangular shapes are stitched together to form uniformity in the pattern of design.

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Anthropology Collection

Portable Shrine (Kavad) 75.64 Wood, Natural Pigments Rajasthan, India 20th century H.35.5 cm; Wd. 22 cm; Depth. 16.5 cm Kavad is a portable shrine that contains multiple folding doors, each painted with diverse themes from the Hindu epics and mythology, local folklore, and also depicts the exploits and aspirations of the patron. It is a folk tradition from the state of Rajasthan, where the Kavadia Bhatt priests commission the artisans belonging to the Suthar, carpenter-artist community of Bassi village caste to create these delightful portable shrines. The storytellers are called as Bhanwar Bhat.

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Anthropology Collection

Jagannath Patachitra 78.954 Paper, Cloth and Natural Pigments Raghurajpur, Odisha, India 20th century L. 93.8 cm; Wd. 82 cm This patachitra displays the prominence of the Shri Jagannath cult and the temple traditions in Puri, depicting several mythological scenes, ritual and religious beliefs of the Vaishnava sect taking place around it. It is made in traditional Odisha style using natural colors, bold angular, sharp lines, using geometric designs, flowers and foliage for decoration with red colored background. This painting represents Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra in the center flanked by the images of Lord Shiva on the right side and Lord Brahma on the left side.

Arms and Armour Collection

Since the time of Pre-History to Present, Self-preservation, protection and war have always been an inseparable part of human society. Due to these factors, Arms, as well as Armors, became part of the society. National Museum has an extensive collection of Arms and Armors. From this collection, quite a few examples of Indian weapons like different variety of bows, Variety of…

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Arms and Armour Collection

Sword of Tipu Sultan 56.17/1 Metal, Wood, Velvet Mysore, 1799 C.E. Lt. 74.1 cm This sword belonged to Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore. The Delhishahi hilt damascened in gold. The Delhi shahi hilt with its circular disc pommel, oval grip, small knuckle-guard, short quillons and small langets, is damascened in gold in floral and creeper design all over. The blade is ornamented with floral motifs in opulent gold, and has Quranic verses inscribed along with name of Tipu Sultan Bahadur and his capital Serirangapatnam. The sheath is made of wood and covered with maroon velvet.

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Arms and Armour Collection

Battle Axe of Nadir Shah 58.47/3 Metal Indo- Persian, 1739 C.E. Lt. 52 cm The battle-axe of Nadir Shah is a noteworthy specimen. It is inscribed with Quranic verses and ‘SahibeQiran Nadir’ in Arabic. The axe head is profusely decorated with gold and silver inscriptions. The octagonal handle is profusely decorated with floral designs in gold and silver.

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Arms and Armour Collection

Dagger 59.1/2 Leather, Metal Udaipur, 17th Century C.E. Lt. 40.1cm The artefact is a dagger with a moderate curve, with a plain blade;the ram-shaped hilt is profusely studded with lusterous precious stones like rubies, emeralds and other precious stones. Quite similar to the peshkabz, that is of Persian origin introduced in India by MughalsThe sheath of metal is perforated with the images of gods and goddesses. The upper part and chape of the sheath are enamelled. The sheath of metal is delicately perforated with images of birds, animals and creeper delineation.

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Arms and Armour Collection

Gun Powder 61.66 Mother of pearls, iron Gujrat, 17th Century C.E. Lt. 14.5 cm Conch-shell shaped curved gun powder container is made of the mother of pearls. It is decorated all over with cross design and five dots in each square. The cap is broken. A small iron chain is affixed to it.

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Arms and Armour Collection

Shield of MaharanaSangram Singh 62.2879 Udaipur, c.1840 C.E. Lt. 62.5 cm This shield (dhal) belonged to Maharana Sangram Singh II of Mewar who ruled from C.E. 1710 to 1734. The shield is made of rhinoceros hide. It has been lacquered black and painted in brilliant gold in C.E. 1730, quite similar to the miniature painting of Mewar school of painting. The painting done on the shield consists of only three colors- lac red, carbon black and gold. The painting is divided into eight sections illustrating the Maharana marching with retinue and deer, etc.

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Arms and Armour Collection

Hilt 62.2936 Jade, Semi-precious stone Mughal (Delhi), Early 17th Century C.E. Lt. 12.6 cm The jade hilt, probably part of a dagger,is studded with diamonds and rubies in gold border, designed as floral stems. The daggers with such carved jade hilts were worn and exchanged as gifts among the royal and noblemen within the Mughal empire and its neighbouring courts.

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Arms and Armour Collection

Chest-Plate (Char-aina) 63.526 Steel Rajasthan, 18th Century C.E. Lt. 85.3 cm, W. 17.4 cm This body armor is made of six steel plates a back plate, three front plates and two-side plates hinged together. The two plates on the sides have under-cut on upper edge for the armpit. Five hooks are contoured on the end plates. The edges of all the plates are strengthened with additional serrated border. The borders have Devanagari script inscribed on it. The body armor has the name of the armor maker Sita Ram given on it.

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Arms and Armour Collection

Sword 75.672 Steel, Wood Jaipur, 18th Century C.E. Lt. 49.5 cm Nimiachau-1- shamsheer i.e. Small slightly curved sword of watered steel blade. The hilt, decorated in floral design in gold terminates into a tiger killing a deer which also becomes the knuckle-guard. The wooden sheath is covered with perforated metal in floral motifs with attached two bands and two rings.

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Arms and Armour Collection

Helmet 96.216 Steel, gold, Hyderabad, 19th Century C.E. Ht.52 cm, Dia. 20.7 c.m. The hemispherical helmet made of four pieces of steel soldered. It is surmounted by a plume-holder and a movable nasal-guard with leaf-shaped terminals. The entire helmet is profusely inlaid with gold in creeper, birds and geometrical patterns in zar-band. Arabic characters are encased in ornamental frames arranged at two levels upper and lower. The helmet also consists of a camail for the protection of shoulder and neck.

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Arms and Armour Collection

Shield 96.338 Steel, Cloth Dia. 54 cm This circular convex shield of watered shield made of two sheets has up turned rim. The outer rim has twelve windows in the shape of leaf. The shield is profusely inlaid with gold in floral, birds, creeper and geometrical patterns in zarbuland, with Arabic characters inlaid with gold in the centre of each window. The four bosses with serrated borders are affixed between four windows. The rim gives an effect of light and shade- it is inlaid with gold alloy.

Decorative Collection

Every culture has its distinct features, which is clearly reflected in its art, ranging from tiles and wood carvings, ceramic or metal utensils to textiles and jewellery. These functional objects are created manually, and help us in understanding the social, religious, commercial and technological development of the society….

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Decorative Collection

Box 48.28 Jade, Gold Northern India 18th century Lt. 11.5; Wd. 6; Ht. 3.4 cm. Light green jade octagonal box with a detachable lid. Lid of a box is bejewelled with precious stones and gold wire arranged in a floral decoration form. The box’s side walls are made of small plaques arranged in an octagonal shape. The outer side of the wall panel is decorated with Mughal botch, which are surmounted by gold wire frame. The plain inner portion has three compartments two smaller one on either side whist the centre division is slightly bigger.

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Decorative Collection

Small bird 60.1618/5 Carnelian, Metal Northern/Western India 19th Century 5 x 3 cm. A small bird having metal coating (on its back) with small metallic round balls fixed within provided loops. A small chain is also attached to it. Damaged at places.

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Decorative Collection

Muhnal 61.1489 Glass, Stone India 19th Century 6.2 cm. A huqqa muhnal inlaid with golden wires and stones. Some sockets are without stone. Craked and damaged at places.

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Decorative Collection

Venugopal, Ganesha and a saint 62.103 Wood South India 19th century 40.5 x 42 x 8.5 cm. The Venugopal stands on lotus pedestal, playing flute, is in the centre and a cow stands nearby. The  Ganesha is seated on a mouse and a standing figure of a saint are on either side of Krishna. All three images are fixed on a single base. Damaged at places.

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Decorative Collection

Surahi 62.1757 Ceramic Jaipur, Rajasthan Late 19th century Ht. 34 (with lid); Wd. 15 cm. A blue and white ware jar with lid having a handle. Outer drawing showing an elephant killing lion and an equestrian figure.

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Decorative Collection

Dasavatara shrine 72.251/(a) Ivory, wood South India Late 18th century CE Lt. 22; Wd. 17.8; Ht. 15 cms A magnificent example of ivory carving and painting pursuing typical South Indian idiom, this tiny shrine, full of luster and most rare, both as the art material and the quality of art, installs Lord Vishnu’s ten incarnations, each on a circular double lotus seat. The sandal wood base of the shrine is mounted with an ivory sheet and in the background is a perforated ivory screen divided into three parts using European style pillars.

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Decorative Collection

Gyan chaupar 85.312 Cloth Rajasthan, India 19th Century A Gyan chaupar of cloth painted with floral border, small squares all over the field and two male figures one either side are on the top. The entire field depicts snake and ladder with inscription in Devnagiri.

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Decorative Collection

Tusk depicting Buddha’s life scenes 85.508/1 Ivory, Wood Early 20th century Ht. 134 cm. Magnificent artwork illustrates the complete life story of Lord Buddha in forty-three small roundels. It starts from bottom to top; the scenes are carved in roundels with floral creeper depicted around the roundels. Tip of the tusk illustrates Lord Buddha in three different mudras (hand gestures) representing important scenes of Buddha’s life. Most of the scenes depicted here are represented in other art forms; however some of them have not been depicted earlier. Although it’s an early twentieth century work, even then the artist has thoroughly followed the literary text.

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Decorative Collection

Elephant with riders 87.503/1 Metal Western India 20th Century An elephant ridden by elegantly dressed royal figure holding a flower in one hand. There is a male attendant sitting behind the royal figure who is holding a fly-whisk in his one hand. The elephant is richly ornamented. Damaged at places.

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Decorative Collection

Plaque 60.1610/22 Jade, Stone, Metal 19th Century  4.6 x 4 cm. An arch shaped plaque with floral design on one side and inlayed with stones and golden wire. Damaged at places.

Manuscripts Collection

The National Museum has a collection of nearly 14,000 manuscripts in various languages and scripts, covering a large number of subjects and representing various schools and provinces. It comprises fragmented or full manuscripts, of which about 1000 are illustrated. The non-illustrated manuscripts are calligraphic, which have ornate letters almost transforming into pictures. Many of…

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Manuscripts Collection

Ashtasahasrika Prajnaparamita 70.3/3 Palm-leaf 12th century C.E. Sanskrit; Pala 55.0 × 5.7cms The Asthasahasrika Prajnaparamita is one of the most important scriptures of Mahayana Buddhism. Prajnaparamita (where ‘prajna’ refers to ‘Supreme Knowledge’ and ‘paramita’ refers to ‘fullness’) is an essential Mahayana rite, which must be observed by a bodhisattva or seeker of Enlightenment. This folio is from a manuscript dating back to12th century C.E. The manuscript bears richly decorated illustrations in the style of mural paintings, with images of Avalokiteshvara, green Tara and other minor deities, in a masterful composition of forms. They share a stylistic affinity with the Central Asian styles.

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Manuscripts Collection

Babur Crossing the river Saun: a Baburnama folio 50.336 Paper: c. 1598 C.E. Persian; Nastaliq 26 × 17cm This folio from Babur Nama depicts a scene of the 14th of April 1529 when Babur marched through Bibar and crossed the River ‘Saun’ using a bridge of boats. In the middle of the paintings is a boat onto which a fish has leapt. Two soldiers armed with muskets are firing at the crocodile. All the on-lookers are sharing in the excitement which the incident has provided. Babur is sitting beneath a pavilion constructed on the largest boat. He is the highest figure in the painting, evidencing his status as master of all the surveys.

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Manuscripts Collection

Babur supervising construction of reservoir at Istabul near Kabul 50.336 Paper c. 1598 C.E. Persian; Nastaliq 26 × 17cm In this painting, Babur depicts the pleasant villages around Kabul and their gardens. He records 33 different kinds of tulips on the foothills of Dasht-i Shaikh. In this colorful painting, Babur holds a hawk and stands near the reservoir that he constructed. In the background stands his tent. In the top right hand corner of the painting, a dancing peacock is depicted, its tail spread out in a gorgeous fan. In the foreground, a greyhound drinks water from a stream. This is undoubtedly on one of the most delightful paintings of the Baburnama.

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Manuscripts Collection

Balabodhini 76.726/2 Birch-bark manuscript 12th century C.E. Sanskrit; Sharada. 28 × 23 cms Balabodhini, authored by one of the celebrated Kashmiri Pandit, Jagaddhara Bhatta, dates back to 12th century C.E. inscribed on birch-bark (bhuja-patra) in black ink, typical to Kashmir. The inner bark of the common birch, known more as the bhoja-patraorbhurja in their native Himalayan region, has been used most prolifically by the Hindu Kashmiri as their writing material till 18th century. In the manuscript, we do not see any illustrations being used. The text is written in Sharada script, with pen and black ink, imparting a vivid character to the quaint birch-bark.

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Manuscripts Collection

Farman of Jalal-ud-Din Mohammad Akbar 92.28 Paper 1560 C.E. Persian; Taliq 52 × 26 cm A Farman is an imperial directive. During the Mughal period, farmans in the name of the emperor, bearing the imperial seal and, sometimes also, imperial symbols were issued. Jalal-ud-Din Mohammad Akbar credited for many victorious and perhaps most importantly, a period of religious and cultural tolerance. The Farmans issued by Emperor Akbar were very functional and institutional in veneer. It is a statement rendered potent by the emperor’s seal or Mohra (small circular stamp) above and is now faded. The text is in Taliq, language used is Persian.

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Manuscripts Collection

Gita Govinda of Jayadeva 57.46 Palm-leaf 18th Century C.E. Sanskrit; Oriya 5.6 × 26.5 cms The opening lines of Jayadeva’s work- ‘Love Song of the Dark Lord’ as the Gita Govinda has been called-till the very end, the entire text is accommodated on fourteen palm-leaves stitched together so as to open up like a hanging. “Clouds thicken the sky/tamala trees darken the forest”, Nanda says to Radha asking her to take young Krishna home, for ‘the night frightens him’, little knowing that as they leave, ‘passing trees in thickets on the way’, the ‘secret passions of Radha and Madhava’ will begin to ‘triumph on the Jumna riverbank’. On the other hand, the text is artfully written on the succeeding leaves.

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Manuscripts Collection

Jain Kalpasutra 48.29 Paper 15th century C.E. Prakrit; Devanagari 12 × 30cm The present manuscript is an illustrated copy of the most revered Jain Work of Bhadrabahu. This is the sumptuous specimen of the best known of illustrated Kalpasutras on paper. Folios of the manuscript are filled with gleaming design, both in the writing of the text and in the illustrated panels: borders filled with Little figures against backgrounds of rich but wonderfully varying colours, elegantly written line of script, alternating from gold to silver; figurative panels equipped with meticulous details of textiles and objects and scared symbols. The painter has illustrated the birth of Mahavira.

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Manuscripts Collection

Kammavacha 51.20 Copperplate Manuscript 19th Century C.E. Pali; Burmese. 54 × 10.5 cms. This Burmese tamrapatra or ‘plates of copper’ manuscript’s slim and long folios are lacquered in black with text. The folio carries a male figure on the right end and a female figure on the left end in elaborately framed compartments. The two figures are anthropomorphic and with animal features simultaneously so they appear to be semi-divine creatures in the tradition of kinnaras and vidyadharas. They wear typically Burmese, tall, tiered, conical crowns. The Burmese predilection for the golden Colour is typified by the temple city of Pagan.

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Manuscripts Collection

Rasamanjari: ‘A Bouquet of Delights’ 61.1185 Paper 18th Century C.E. Sanskrit; Devanagari 14 × 29 cms. Regarded as one of the great classics of Sanskrit literature, Bhanudatta’s 15th Century work, the Rasamanjari.. The painter of the present manuscript shows a clear understanding of the contents and the situations envisaged. One sees this on the very first folio which contains an invocatory verse in honor of Shiva. With great imagination the poet casts the deity in the role of a lover, considering that the theme of the whole work was essentially love. Everything points to Shiva trying to save his beloved, his left female half which is Parvati, any unnecessary effort. The painting is rich and colourful, with strong elements of stylization, as seen in his treatment of the rocks and the flowering plant.

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Manuscripts Collection

Folio with Calligraphy and Ornamented Border 55.53/1 Paper 16th Century C.E. Arabic; Naskh 37 × 25 cms The text in the specimen of calligraphy is a beautiful couplet taken from a famous Arabic poem composed by the Abbasid poet Saiyed-Isma’il-al-Hamiri. As per Shai sect of Islam It is believed that Imam Ali bin Musa Raza, the eight Imam, had a dream in which al-Hamiri was standing in front of the Prophet, his daughter Fatima, his cousin Ali, and two grandsons Hasan and Husain, reciting a poem in their praise: The Imam himself was present there too. It is also believed in Shia Islam that whosoever learns this poem by heart will surely find a place in Heaven. The couplet from al-Hamiri’s poem is written on rose-pink paper. The calligraphic specimen has been mounted on a larger page, framed by a narrow border with a golden floral pattern surrounded by a larger border of marbled paper with abri or cloud patterns.

Numismatics and Epigraphy Collection

Indian coinage has a long and rich historical tradition that provides a key source of information of political and economic changes. It also reflects the cultural and aesthetic development of different periods and regions.

 

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Numismatics and Epigraphy Collection

Cooch Behar Coin 53.23/178 Silver India 20th century Coin of Jagaddipendra Narayan Bhupa Raja (Maharaja of Cooch Behar state) between 1922 CE to 1949 CE. The currency of the Koch kings was named Narayani after the royal surname Narayan of the dynasty. The main currency in circulation was the British currency after 1866 and not the Narayani coins (currency of the Cooch Behar). The obverse show a crowned lion on the left and an elephant on the right and the royal crest having Hanuman on top. The coat of arms has the royal motto in Sanskrit shloka of  “Yato Dharmo Stoto Jayah” in Bengali script. The shield has patterns and has two swords in crossed position and a balance. The reverse of the Cooch Behar coins has the name of the king and the date as Raja Saka (Cooch Behar Era) 413 which coincides with 1923 CE.

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Numismatics and Epigraphy Collection

Cooch Behar Coin 53.23/178 Silver India 20th century Coin of Jagaddipendra Narayan Bhupa Raja (Maharaja of Cooch Behar state) between 1922 CE to 1949 CE. The currency of the Koch kings was named Narayani after the royal surname Narayan of the dynasty. The main currency in circulation was the British currency after 1866 and not the Narayani coins (currency of the Cooch Behar). The obverse show a crowned lion on the left and an elephant on the right and the royal crest having Hanuman on top. The coat of arms has the royal motto in Sanskrit shloka of  “Yato Dharmo Stoto Jayah” in Bengali script. The shield has patterns and has two swords in crossed position and a balance. The reverse of the Cooch Behar coins has the name of the king and the date as Raja Saka (Cooch Behar Era) 413 which coincides with 1923 CE.

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Numismatics and Epigraphy Collection

Mughal Coin 55.36/77 Silver India 1759 – 1806 CE Dia- 2.4, Wt- 11.4 gm This coin is issued by Ali Gohar commonly known as Shah Alam II. He was son of Alamgir II and the sixteenth emperor of Mughal Empire. After the murder of his father, he became the emperor of a crumbling Mughal empire by taking the title of Shah Alam II. The time period of his reign was from 1760 to 1788 C.E. and 1788 C.E. to 1806 C.E.

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Numismatics and Epigraphy Collection

Mughal Coin 55.36/77 Silver India 1759 – 1806 CE Dia- 2.4, Wt- 11.4 gm This coin is issued by Ali Gohar commonly known as Shah Alam II. He was son of Alamgir II and the sixteenth emperor of Mughal Empire. After the murder of his father, he became the emperor of a crumbling Mughal empire by taking the title of Shah Alam II. The time period of his reign was from 1760 to 1788 C.E. and 1788 C.E. to 1806 C.E.

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Numismatics and Epigraphy Collection

Nepal Coin 55.36/92 Silver Nepal 1799 – 1816 CE Dia-2.6 cm Wt- 505 gm The coins specimen seen here was mnted during the reign of King Girvan Yuddha Vikrama of Nepal. He ruled from 1797 to 1816 C.E. The above coin, circular in shaped is designed with in a small square at the centre, beautifully amalgamated in a circle cointaining a tridant . It dates back to 1735 Saka era. In a inner circle. in ornaments.

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Numismatics and Epigraphy Collection

Nepal Coin 55.36/92 Silver Nepal 1799 – 1816 CE Dia-2.6 cm Wt- 505 gm The coins specimen seen here was mnted during the reign of King Girvan Yuddha Vikrama of Nepal. He ruled from 1797 to 1816 C.E. The above coin, circular in shaped is designed with in a small square at the centre, beautifully amalgamated in a circle cointaining a tridant . It dates back to 1735 Saka era. In a inner circle. in ornaments.

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Numismatics and Epigraphy Collection

Chola coin 59.152/321 base gold 985-1014 C.E. Chola is one of the greatest of Tamil powers who ruled the region for several centuries. Archaeological evidences from Kaveripattanam throw light on regular coinage by the Cholas. Their coins had a symbolic representation including the emblem of the Cholas and on the obverse what is usually seen are symbols those were seen on the early die struck coins of the North. The specimen seen here shows Ceylon standing figure on the obverse and seated ceylon figure “sri rajaraja”in nagari on the reverse side.

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Numismatics and Epigraphy Collection

Chola coin 59.152/321 base gold 985-1014 C.E. Chola is one of the greatest of Tamil powers who ruled the region for several centuries. Archaeological evidences from Kaveripattanam throw light on regular coinage by the Cholas. Their coins had a symbolic representation including the emblem of the Cholas and on the obverse what is usually seen are symbols those were seen on the early die struck coins of the North. The specimen seen here shows Ceylon standing figure on the obverse and seated ceylon figure “sri rajaraja”in nagari on the reverse side.

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Numismatics and Epigraphy Collection

Indo- Greek Coin 56.9/6 Silver India 2nd Century BCE Length:1.4 Width:1.4 Centimeter The Hellenistic expansion brought the Ancient Greeks in South Asia also known as Indo-Greeks. They have established the Indo-Greek Kingdom, covering various parts of the northwest and northern Indian subcontinent during the last two centuries B.C.E., and were ruled by more than 30 Hellenistic kings. The Indo-Greeks ultimately disappeared as a political entity around 10 C.E. following the invasions of the Indo-Scythians.

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Numismatics and Epigraphy Collection

Indo- Greek Coin 56.9/6 Silver India 2nd Century BCE Length:1.4 Width:1.4 Centimeter The Hellenistic expansion brought the Ancient Greeks in South Asia also known as Indo-Greeks. They have established the Indo-Greek Kingdom, covering various parts of the northwest and northern Indian subcontinent during the last two centuries B.C.E., and were ruled by more than 30 Hellenistic kings. The Indo-Greeks ultimately disappeared as a political entity around 10 C.E. following the invasions of the Indo-Scythians.

Painting Collection

The National Museum has nearly 17,000 paintings, representing all important styles of Indian miniatures. It is one of the largest collections of miniature paintings in the country. The Miniature painting tradition has been a key form of Indian painting apart from murals, cloth paintings and paintings on wood. Among miniature paintings, the main schools have been- the Deccani (from…

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Painting Collection

Portrait of Rama (Sri Rama Chandra) 63.1043 Unknown Basholi, Pahari, Jammu & Kashmir Early 18th century C.E. Water colour on paper 14.8 X 10.2 cm Lord Rama is shown seated on a thousand petalled lotus that rises from the water. Water here is symbolic of the Ocean of Consciousness. He is wearing a bejewelled crown with lotuses and carrying his bow in one hand and arrow in the other, denoting his status as a great archer. Oval face, thin and elongated figures, long arms and slender waist creates a perfect harmony and balance. His name is inscribed on top of the painting in takri script as Sri Ram Chandra.

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Painting Collection

The Coronation procession of Rama 49.19/119 Unknown Mandi, Pahari 1800 C.E. Opaque water colour on paper. 33 x 23.7 This miniature painted by Sajnu, has an oval frame Painted in a palette of earthly hues, the royal portraits tended to exaggerate the normal proportions. The heads were consciously oversized. At the top is an inscription “Sri Raghunathjiro raj tilak ro” i.e. coronation of raghunath in devanagari script. Lord Rama in full splendour is seen mounted on a horse back, proceeding towards Ayodhya. Vermilion hued Hanuman leads the procession while musicians and singers accompany at the back.

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Painting Collection

Radha and Krishna Style: Jaipur, Rajasthan, Date: circa 1750 C.E. Opaque watercolor on paper, Size :67 x 46 c.m. Accession no: 56.59/57 Arising from the Jaipur School is this intensely personal image of divine lovers- Krishna and Radha, standing on the moonlit terrace playing Holi during the month of Phalguna. Decked with ornaments, Krishna wears a peacock feather turban whereas Radha is adorned in elaborate traditional attire. Krishna stands embracing Radha, resembled the moon in the starry firmament. It confirms the brilliance of the painter in capturing the moment of love and affection.

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Painting Collection

Portrait of Buraq, the celebrated animal over which the Holy Prophet Muhammad rode from Jerusalem to the Heavens. 48.8/23 23.62×15.74 cms Paper The animal has the head of a woman, the feet of an ox, the hind part of a horse, and the tail of a peacock. It has been provided with a brocaded cap ans a saddle and pearl ornament.

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Painting Collection

Krishna dallying with cowherd maidens Based on poetry of Jaideva’s Gita-Govinda Style: Basohli, Pahari Date: 1730 C.E. Medium: opaque watercolor on paper Size: 20.5 x 31 c.m Accession no: 51.207/26 A spectacular painting of Krishna dallying with cowherd maidens is based on the poetry of Jaideva’s Gita – Govinda portrays a composition of numerous figures in bright colours against the red background. The composition is in horizontal format, Krishna wears a crown adorned with lotus buds. He is seen standing in the center accompanied by the maidens who are seen offering Betel leaves ‘Paan’ to Krishna.

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Painting Collection

Marriage procession of Dara Shikoh 58.58/38 Awadh, Provincial Mughal, circa 1740-50 C.E. Opaque watercolor and gold on paper, 43 x 32 c.m. The painting enclosed within a foliated scroll has an alluring depiction of the marriage procession of Prince Dara Shikoh with Nadira Begum in 1633 CE. Shikoh is depicted in the center with a sehra covering his face and a turban draped in strands of pearls. Just behind Dara Shikoh, is Shahjahan with a green nimbus with golden rays behind his head. On the right, is the bride’s side welcoming the marriage procession with the magnificent fireworks.

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Painting Collection

Saraswati Pata 63.1590 Jain style, Western India c. 1475-1500 C.E. Natural pigments on cloth, 54.8 x 44.5 c.m. The Jain cloth patas can be divided into two categories-tantric and non-tantric. Among the tantric works are mantra diagrams. The non-tantric works are chitra patas, with religious content but are not concerned with tantric rites. The paintings seen here enshrines Goddess Saraswati with her ‘vahana’(vehicle), the goose, the centre most block or the shrine. The other eight compartments divided into squares have attendants, jain monks, musicians and dancers.

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Painting Collection

Painted wooden book cover 63.1169 Basholi, Pahari, Jammu & Kashmir 1800 C.E. Natural color on wood 12.4 X 31.5 cm This Nineteenth century painted wooden cover (patli) was used to bind the folios of the manuscript. It represents the Hindu pantheons in three different segments divided by horseshoes shaped arches. On the left is Arjuna paying homage to lord Krishna with folded hands. In the center, is the figure of red bodied Ganesha, seated on the lotus throne, holding his attributes and on the right is Shiva with his consort Parvati along with Nandi resting on mount Kailash.

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Painting Collection

The Holy Family 76.628 Opaque watercolor and gold on paper UnknownStyle Mankot- Basohli, Pahari c. 1750 C.E. 26.5 X17.5 c.m The holy family of Lord Shiva is seen seated on an open petelled lotus placed over an octagonal golden throne against the blue background with a red border. Parvati exquisitely dressed in red and bejwelled is shown seated embracing Karttikeya on her lap. Whereas, on the other side is Lord Shiva who is depicted white bodied, four armed: one in abhya mudra and the other holds Ganesha, adorned with five peaked crown surmounted by three lotuses, typical feature of Basholi style.

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Painting Collection

The Cosmic Form of Krishna- Vasudeva 88.6 Opaque water color on paper pasted on cloth, Mysore style, Karnataka, Late 19th century C.E. 94 x 84 cm with frame The painting depicts the cosmic form of Lord Vishnu as Vasudeva represented with all his attributes- Chakra (discus), Gada (mace), Shank (Conch shell) and Kamal (Lotus) in his multiple arms. Lord Vasudeva is clad is a highly detailed dhoti (lower body garment) with several minute details and is shown heavily bejewelled.

Jewellery

The Jewellery gallery at the national museum is called ‘Alamkara’ – The Beauty of Ornament, encompassing the most extensive collection of jewellery in India, with more than 250 items displayed here to tell the story of Indian jewellery. From the beautifully tumbled agate bead necklaces of Mohenjodaro and Harappa to the fabulous jewels adorned with images of gods and goddesses to the…

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Jewellery

Head ornament (sheeshphul) 57.10/6 Gold, rubies, emeralds, diamonds, pearls Rajasthan, India late 19th century The hair ornament (sheeshphul) in the form of an openwork flowerhead centering upon a rose-cut diamond and surrounded by concentric circles of petals set with rubies, emeralds and diamonds. Around the edge a row of seed pearls are threaded through gold loops.

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Jewellery

Turban ornament (sarpech) 57.10/9 Gold, diamonds, emeralds Rajasthan, India 19th century The turban jewel (sarpech) designed as three openwork emerald and diamond-set foliate cluster panels. The center panel is set with a large hexagonal emerald carved with a chrysanthemum flower and the two side panels each center upon a rectangular emerald carved with a floral motif. The tapering scroll aigrette with a row of emeralds in the center and flanked by diamond petals with a single emerald drop and five emerald drops suspended below.

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Jewellery

Armband (bazuband) 63.784 Gold, rubies, sapphire, cat eye, yellow sapphire, emerald, diamond, pearl, coral, hessonite, enamel North India 19th century The armband (bazuband) in three hinged sections, the center of rectangular form with pear-shaped pieces on either side. The armband serves as an amulet set with the nine celestial gems or navaratna kundan-set in gold in a floral design on a green enamel ground framed within a border with diamonds set within leaf outlines on a red ground. The two side pieces center on a flower with a diamond center and ruby petals on a turquoise blue enamel ground within a diamond-set leaf border. The reverse of the amulet is enamelled with small white flowers and green leaves on a red ground.

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Jewellery

Belt (kamarband) 82.259 Gold, diamonds, rubies, enamel North India 19th century The belt (kamarband) of gold in the form of eighty-four rectangular interlocking plaques in two rows, each with a floral motif set with diamonds and cabochon rubies on a green and gold ground. On one side, the drop shaped petal of the flower projects in a semi-circle which fits into a corresponding semi-circular recess in the next plaque. The clasp of eight similar plaques arranged vertically. The reverse is plain gold.

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Jewellery

Bangle (gajredar kada) 87.1167/1 Gold, diamonds, rubies, pearls, enamel Bikaner, Rajasthan 19th century The hinged bangle (gajredar kada) of gold with a design of flowerheads and leaves, kundan set with diamonds and rubies on a blue and gold enamel ground on the front. The upper portion of the bangle, on either side of the fastening has a meshwork of seed pearls woven in gold wire simulating jasmine (gajre) buds. The inside is decorated with red flowers and green leaves on a white ground.

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Jewellery

Nose ring (balu) 87.1168 Gold, semi precious stones, pearls. Himachal Pradesh Early 20th century Dia- 10 cm The large nose ring with a gem-set lotus and bird in the middle set above a row of semi-precious gems. It is decorated with red and white gems surrounded by tiny pearls. Delicate gold leaves interspersed with gem-set crescent shaped and fish-shaped elements fringe the bottom of the nose ring. On the upper portion a drop-shaped gem-set pendant from which are suspended seven gold leaves each with a turquoise in the middle within a granulated frame. A chain of stamped gold flowers with a fringe of gold leaves and pearls are attached to the nose ring.

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Jewellery

Necklace (kaluthiru) 89.1015 Gold Chettinad, South India 19th century Wt- 597.7 gms The necklace (kaluthiru) is made up of three claw-like pendants strung on a cord with round and tubular beads. The kaluthiru, derives its name from kaluthu meaning neck and uru meaning bead is the marriage necklace of the Nattukottai Chettiar community of Tamil Nadu. The claw-like pendants are believed to be modelled on shell forms or the paws of a tiger. Embellished with pyramidal architectural forms, wire work and beautifully crafted open work decoration, the three pendants are strung with fourteen gadrooned beads, eight cylindrical beads with fine granulation work and two elongated rectangular beads at the end that are decorated with wire and granules.

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Jewellery

Head ornament (jhumar) 89.1030 Gold, diamonds, pearls Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh Late 19th century The head ornament (jhumar) with a semi-circular openwork foliate panel with a design of a crescent moon all set with diamonds and green enamel and surmounted with a gold hook. Fourteen rows of pearls interspersed with ruby beads from the bottom are attached to a crescent shaped panel set with diamonds and suspending gem set pieces and bunches of pearls below. The jewel is worn pinned to the hair on one side of the head.

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Jewellery

Necklace (manga malai) 90.752 Gold, rubies, white sapphires South India Early 20th century The necklace (manga malai) is made up of forty-six mango-shaped pendants each set with a white sapphire in the middle and surrounded by cabochon rubies. Each mango pendant is interspersed with trefoil- shaped elements set with cabochon rubies. The units are strung on a flexible flat woven gold cord.

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Jewellery

Necklace (kanthi) 90.940 Gold, diamonds, emeralds Rajasthan, India 19th century The necklace (kanthi) of openwork foliate design centering upon a lotus in full bloom set with diamonds with graduating panels of lotus flowers set with diamonds on either side. A row of pearls set in gold cups on top and a fringe of emerald beads at the bottom. The necklace is attached to three gold chains. The reverse is enamelled with red and green floral motifs on a white ground.

Central Asian Antiquities Collection

Being a crucial central part of Asia, frequent movements of people from different regions, faith and culture resulted in the emergence of composite cultural tradition. Hence, we could see elements of Hellenistic, Sassanian, Uigurian, Chinese, Tibetan, and Indian in the Central Asian Art. The  collection of…

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Central Asian Antiquities Collection

Ladies in a garden Ast.iii.4.010 a (2003/17/355) Silk Painting Astana 7th – 8th century C.E. 37.5 x 54 cm Fragment of a charmingly painted panel of the well bedecked ladies with attendants in a garden. The faces of the ladies are decorated with beauty marks in red. Their coiffure is elaborately decorated with golden hair-pins. One of the attendants is seen with a musical instrument. It is a masterpiece of the T’ang style (618 – 906 C.E.) of secular paintings on silk. ‘The general scheme of the painting seems clear. The painting shows T’ang ideal of full, rounded cheeks, small mouth with full, red lips, and rather massive figure.

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Central Asian Antiquities Collection

Monk seated in paryankasana holding a scroll Ch.024 (99/7/19) Stucco Dunhuang Painting 7th – 10th cent. C.E. 17 x 2.6 x 27 cm. Stucco–plaque showing a seated monk was used for decorating the colourful Dunhuang Caves. It shows a monk seated in ‘paryankasana’ (i.e. seated on a couch / bed). Monk is wearing a red colored monastic dress and a brown colored inner garment. It gives an idea of the traditional garb of 7th – 10 Century C.E. He is also wearing a pair of shoes. His face has a meditative / self – Introspection expression. An unrolled sutra scroll in Chinese character in eight vertical lines, is placed on his lap, suggesting that the practice of writing and reciting the sutras was evident. Open lips suggest preaching the audience (his face and head suggests Tibetan influence).

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Central Asian Antiquities Collection

Thousand Buddha figure Ch.00100 (2003/10/707) Embroidered Silk Textile Dunhuang 9th – 10th Century C.E. A chain-stitch fragment of an embroidered banner, showing Thousand Buddhas. The extant border exhibits the donors. The banner is embroidered with silk threads. The scene of Sravasti is depicted here, Buddha performs two miracles on being challenged by the six teachers of Rajgriha. In the first miracle, he walks on air, while flames leap from his shoulders and the water runs from his feet. In the second, he transforms into multiple images which float in the air to reach heaven while he preaches on earth.

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Central Asian Antiquities Collection

Embroidered hanging Ch.00281 (2000/10/32) Textile, Silk Dunhuang 7th -8th cent. C.E. 148 x 109 cm. Remains of a fragmentary embroidered hanging, dark blue loosely woven gauze, backed with plain blue silk and embroidered with floral “all-over” design with birds and butterflies.

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Central Asian Antiquities Collection

Ch.i.001 (99/17/4) . Silk Painting Dunhuang 9th – 10th Century C.E. 165.5 x 125.5 cm On the silk painting, Bodhisattva Bhaisajyaguru is shown standing on lotuses. He is the Buddha of healing. He is worshipped for achieving health and longevity. Fervent prayers for recovery had a poignancy of its own in ancient times when medical aid was in the formative stages.

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Central Asian Antiquities Collection

MANDALA OF AVALOKITESVARA Ch.xxviii.006 (99/17/95) Silk Painting Dunhuang 9th – 10th Century C.E. The rectangular banner shows the Avalokitesvara with thousand arms, seated on a lotus seat. Top corners are depict the Sun and the Moon Bodhisattvas. The painting depicts both Indian and Chinese elements: facial features, drapery and floral representations. The thousand arms of Avalokitesvara with an eye on each palm is not only to witness the sufferings of humankind but also to help and to illuminate everyone with the knowledge of the ‘Bodhisattva’. He is known as the Mahakarunika (the Great Compassionate One).

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Central Asian Antiquities Collection

Seated Buddha with Avalokitesvara Har. 029 (99/6/6) Wood Khotan, xinjiang, China 6th – 7th cent. Height- 33 cm This fragment of the wooden panel is showing the Buddha seated on the lotus throne in the posture of Vajrasana and hands in vyakhyana mudra. On his right, Avalokitesvara is standing on the lotus stand. His right hand is in abhaya mudra. He is holding with his left hand a vase (amrtakalasa). Left portion of the panel is missing. The figures show Gandharan element.

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Central Asian Antiquities Collection

Two sheep in combat Hu.02 (2003/7/1927) Stucco Pei-ting 6th-7th cent. Height: 8.5 cm The sheep are possibly playing with each other by nuzzling their noses over their shoulders. Modelled naturalistically. Burnt accidentally.

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Central Asian Antiquities Collection

Buddha and the six monks M.iii.003 (99/1/44) Wall painting Miran 3rd-4th century C.E. This fragment of a wall painting is from a stupa in Miran, Xinjiang in northwestern China. The subject matter is non-conclusively thought to be the conversion of the six Sakya princes. Buddha is seen with six other monks. His right hand is in Abhaya mudra and he looks at the spectator. One of the monks holds a chowrie. A figure on the left is seen holding flowers in the hand against a full-bloomed tree. Prominent colours are cream, Indian red, green ochre and black. The Sasanians from Middle Persia who invaded the Kushan Empire populated Miran in the third century.

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Central Asian Antiquities Collection

Pilgrim’s bottle Yo.01 (2003/3/940) Terracotta Yotkan 4th – 5th cent. Height: 16.3 cm Well-shaped bottle seems like a pilgrim’s bottle. Either side of the body of the bottle is decorated with a fully blossomed lotus with two rows of petals. Central part of each lotus is decorated with an appliqué grotesque human face. The bottle has a small mouth. Through two ring-like handles, the bottle could be hung easily. on the waist for carrying extremely pious/ religious water. The site of Yotkan and nearby Khotan has thrown numerous beautiful terracotta objects. This site is located in the Western Chinese Turkistan of China.

Pre-Columbian and Western Art Collection

The collection of Pre Columbian art donated by Mr & Mrs Heeramaneek represents the principal cultures of the Pre- Columbian world. An exquisite collection of artefacts from Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and other regions of South America are a part of the National Museum collection.

 

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Pre-Columbian and Western Art Collection

Corn-God 67.565 Silver Peru Ht.-7.9 cm. Weight : 225.6 gr. Solid cast silver male figure standing on a circular base. holding an ear of corn, with both hands bent at the elbow. the cheeks and nose are prominent: two concentric circles serve as eyes. The head dress consists of corn leaves: fruits and vegetables are attached to the costume. The figure falls into the 60 category known as the “God of Glyph”. This god can also be identified as Piteo Cozobi, the God of Abundant sustenance, Lord of the fields of Maize.

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Pre-Columbian and Western Art Collection

Male Portrait Vessel Mochica, Peru 200-700 C.E. Clay Size: 16.5x 16 cm Acc. No. 67. 246 This Vessel is in the shape of a human head, almost half of the natural size of an actual head. Hardly betraying any signs of being a vessel, the artefact, vividly conceived and so close to reality, looks like a replica of a human head. The face has a painted pattern in the centre. The naturalistic representations of human faces are unique to the Moche culture of Peru. They are thought to represent secular and religious dignitaries. Large numbers of portrait heads have been found in the graves. Most probably these were certain highly regarded personalities, whose heads were thought to possess beneficial powers and ed the ancient Peruvians to place them in graves. These ceramic heads were cast in moulds and more or less show the same features. The portrait head shows their face painted. Curiously, all these were intended as a drinking vessel for the living and the dead.

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Pre-Columbian and Western Art Collection

Pot Modelled Like an Animal Nazca, Peru 300-650 C.E. Clay Size: 11.5x 17.7 cm. Acc. No. 67.289 This elongated figure of a cat-like animal with eyes fixed on its prey is a novel of a serving pot- a kettle with a spout and a handle. The handle replacing the cat’s tail. The white-spotted deep brown cat, with its legs, gathered completely under its fur, upwards turned face, ears raised as to when extra vigilant and closed mouth as when fixed at the target, is poised fully to charge at its prey the moment it detected its slightest movement. As almost all early culture reveal, conceiving articles of day-to-day use, especially pottery, in personalized s or the s of familiar animals, domestic or others, was a common practice of potters all over, and this spouted pot is one of its examples. This pot with handle and spout in the of a cat evidences a certain extent of evolution in the art of clay modelling which blended an art ; any naturalistic of an animal and human being with a utility article. The artefact is painted reddish-brown with patches of off-white, baked with high-temperature firing and beautifully finished and polished.

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Pre-Columbian and Western Art Collection

Bowl Mixtec, Mexico 1200–1521 C.E. Clay Size: Ht. 13.7, Dia. 18.2 cm. Acc. No. 67.420 Tripod bowl with high relief painted decoration in white against the red ground on the outer surface. Oaxaca, on a height near this city, was Monte Alban, a large site of long history, associated with the Zapotec culture and in the plain, Mitla, associated with the Mixtecs, who came into prominence in the region about 1000 C.E. The effigy vessels are typical of Zapotec pottery. Their influence is recognized in the geometric in the set stone mural decoration of Mitla, for abstract patterns, that resemble that decorative stone mosaic, are found on their pottery. Their culture included several important sites, extending to Cholula in the state of Puebla on the high cultural plateau. The Mixtec dominance of the Oaxaca Puebla regions gave place to that of the Aztecs in the fourteenth century.

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Pre-Columbian and Western Art Collection

Coiled Serpent Jar Mexico 1200-1500 C.E. Terracotta Size: Ht. 19.6 cm, Dia. 15.5 cm. Acc. No. 67.421 In Mexican mythology, the snake is a symbol of veneration, worship and honour often a symbol of great power, rebirth and resurrection and a powerful emblem of renewal and transition also. The snake is recognized as a symbol of humanity as a whole. It also provides hope for mankind to aspire to great heights as it correlates the shedding of the serpent’s skin to a human’s ability to change his circumstances and overcome adversity. This effigy jar shows a coiled serpent in a very aggressive and mood. The serpent head is modelled in high relief and the mouth is open and the teeth show its attacking or pose. The coil begins to shape up from the bottom of the jar and modelled in low relief. The length is shown by reddish-brown and white lines, scales of the body are beautifully depicted in abstract patterns and eyes also indicate its watchfulness. The upper portion is painted in an abstract pattern. It has a yellow and reddish-brown slip.

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Pre-Columbian and Western Art Collection

Green Stone Yoke Mexico 500-900 C.E. Stone Size: 10.2×27.5×39.5 cm. Acc. No. 67.435 The yokes, palmas, axes (hachas) are associated with Ball game. ‘U’ shaped yokes are carved with stylised designs of animals, birds and religious symbols. Jaguar Yoke from Totonac is carved in greenish stone in ‘U’ shape. A jaguar is carved in the centre with clear nostrils, mouth and eyes on the front, holding a human head in its jaws with the stylised body and legs extending on either side. While their purpose is yet to be known, it is commonly believed that they represent the belts worn by the players of a ballgame.

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Pre-Columbian and Western Art Collection

Large human head Vera Cruz, Mexico 500-900 C.E. Clay Size: 19.3 cm. Acc. No. 67.467 The large human head is made of clay and a natural buff smoothed the head with a spiked headdress held by a trap. Some of the spikes and the right ear are missing and the left ear is wearing a decorative ring. It has a wide face and a beautiful headdress. The peoples of the Gulf of Mexico region continued into historic times the high level of artistic expression which characterised the early La Venta Culture. The Totonacs of the central coast of the Gulf of Mexico, in this terracotta “Human Head’ and the finely carved stone ‘Yokes’, Palms and Axes, of ceremonial significance, are notable for outstanding and distinctive artworks in both clay and stone.

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Pre-Columbian and Western Art Collection

Gold Crown Peru, Inca 1400-1532 C.E. Gold, Size: Ht.-37.5 cm, Dia. – 20.7 cm Acc. No. – 67.572 The gold crown consists of a circular band with a double row of a tiny hole. A tall egret is flaring at the top. The egret has three heads of priests embossed on it, and it culminates in four divisions on top. The depiction of the figures of priests is probably an indication that the Inca kings combined in their kingship the two offices heads of administration and religion. The Inca ruler’s crown was distinguished by a headband (Iiautu) on a scarlet with small golden tubes fell on his forehead. Similar gold crowns with the only plume have also been found, possibly indicating the lower status. Some have been found attached to a plain-sheet-gold head-band, and others, especially on the south coast, were inserted into the head wrappings of wooden masks.

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Pre-Columbian and Western Art Collection

Wooden bowl North-West Coast, U.S.A. 19th century C.E. Wood Size: 20 cm. Acc. No. 71.471 This jet black artefact designed like a black bear holding a stick in its mouth is a wooden vessel, a ceremonial bowl used during a al feast. It is painted in black using abstract decorative patterns. The bowl is an exceptional example of high and low relief techniques. The artefact has been provided with an opening at the top. Vessels, particularly a bowl, consisting of a seated human or animal figure, especially with strong abstract designs rendered in black.

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Pre-Columbian and Western Art Collection

Virgin Mary and Child France 13th Century C.E. Stone Size: 70×31.5 cm. Acc.No. L.670 Virgin Mary and Child Statue are Very popular in Christian art. Mary is the mother of Jesus. Mother Mary gave birth to Christ but was still a virgin, that’s why she is called the Virgin Mary. She is also known as Madonna who represents either alone or with her child Jesus. This statue is made of polychrome stone. The Virgin Mary seated upon the throne and the child is seated in her lap reading a book, held by mother Mary in her right hand (Reading book by a small child represents his divine nature). The child is steadied by His mother’s half around Him. His right elbow resting on her shoulder. Mary is shown having a beautiful oval but heavier face with a soft, serious expression. She is wearing a wild rose crown and red robe covered by a blue mantle. The blue colour of her clothing symbolised purity, virginity and royalty. Folds of her drapery are depicted very beautifully in a natural way. The Virgin Mary is regarded as the Queen of Heaven and with the child Christ in her lap; she represents the Throne of Wisdom.

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Pre-Columbian and Western Art Collection

Corn-God 67.565 Silver Peru Ht.-7.9 cm. Weight : 225.6 gr. Solid cast silver male figure standing ona circular base. holding an ear of corn, with both hands bent at the elbow. the cheeks and nose are prominent: two concentric circles serve as eyes. the head dress consists of corn leaves: fruits and vegetables are attached to the costume. The figure falls into the 60 category known as the “God of Glyph”. this god can also be identified as Piteo Cozobi, the God of Abundant sustenance, Lord of the fields of Maize.


National Museum, New Delhi

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