Museums

Visits to ancient Indus objects in museums on three continents.

Sumatran Ship Cloths

A recent exhibition of Sumatran (Indonesian) ceremonial hangings in cotton and silk from the 19th century at the De Young Museum in San Francisco made me wonder whether such textiles were also in vogue in another maritime culture, the ancient Indus, whose boats would not seem out of place in these examples.

Chanhiyun Jo Daro at the Met (II)

It may be hard to imagine that the best places to see artefacts of the ancient town of Chanhiyun Jo Daro [Chanhu Daro] are along the eastern seaboard of the United States. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York have a number of pieces from a US-funded team the worked at the site in 1935-36, led by Mohenjo daro excavator E.J.H. Mackay [see Dorothy Mackay, Finds at Chanhu-daro]. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston lent some items to the Metropolitan which I was fortunate enough to see in the fall of 2016 [A Visit to the Met I]. It is over 7,000 miles

At the National Museum, Delhi

On a recent visit to Delhi, I found myself free for two hours and made my way in a rickshaw from Jama Masjid to the National Museum. It was a Sunday afternoon. After paying the entrance fee and breathlessly arriving at the Harappan Civilisation doorway, I found that it was closed for renovations! Momentarily dispirited, it turned out that there was another entrance and much of the gallery was still open – disaster averted.

Four Seals Up Close

A visit to the National Museum of Pakistan in Karachi gave me the opportunity to take close shots of four seals from Mohenjo-daro. They show both the exquisite workmanship of Indus craftsmen and the merciless wear, in different degrees, of four thousand years of history.

The Musee Guimet Indus and Amri Collection in Paris

In the summer of 2019, one of the warmest ever in Paris, I managed to slip one afternoon into the Musee Guimet, and click away on my iPhone at objects usually not seen in colour. This French national museum which contains one of the best collections of Asian Art in the world (as one collector of Indian art, Gursharan Sidhu once put it, the French taste in objects from India is second to none).

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