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, economical, commercial and technological development of the society.
The significant period of decorative arts for the world is usually from the 16th century. However, in India, its history goes back to the period of Harappan Civilization (3500-1500 B.C.E.). Artists in India had taken inspiration from nature and its symbolic meanings, which is reflected in all forms of Indian art including decorative arts. Artefacts of the decorative arts group are crafted for daily, ceremonial and religious uses from a variety of materials like ivory, jade, ceramic, textile, wood, metal, glass, paper, leather and bone.
An array of intricate techniques such as engraving, casting, carving, inlaying, embossing, weaving, printing, dyeing and embroidering are used by the skilled craftsmen to create beautiful works of art and utility. The rich decorative arts collection of National Museum covers utilitarian, ritualistic and secular objects, which have been displayed in four galleries: one gallery each for Wood Carvings and Textiles (second floor), and two galleries devoted to decorative arts (ground floor).