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Shoe, 7th-8th Century C.E Astana (erstwhile Central Asia), Textile and Paper

This baby shoe (7th-8th C.) which belongs to Astana, from the collection of Central Asia Antiquity Department at National Museum. The shoe was made of textile and paper. It was in a very dilapidated condition like stains; accumulation of dust and dirt, the fabric was very brittle and missing at several places, also separated from the base due to weak and broken stitches. The original shape of shoe was distort might be due to ageing. The shoe was undergone mechanical and solvent cleaning and consolidation to strengthen the fabric. The treatment imparted the stability to the materials used in the shoe to retain its shape/ and ready to be displayed.

Seated Male in Namaskar Pose

Title: Seated Male in Namaskar Pose Acc. No.: 3072/388 Date: circa 2500 BCE Material: Terracotta Finding place: Harappa Dimensions (H x W x D) : 5 X 4 X 2 cm

This excavated cream colour hand modelled male nude figurine was found at Harappa. The male is seated in a posture similar to yogic posture with legs outstretched and knees slightly raised. The head, mouth and nose were pinched and the two eyes were marked by a round pellet. Fingers are not shown, but two hands are clasped which appears to be ‘namaskar’ pose. Some parts of the feet are missing. The figurine is thin and flat but the triangular forehead is pinched at two sides. This ageless type of figurine shows typical Harappan of manufacturing technique.

Head of Goddess Durga

82.338, 18th Century C.E Bronze, Orissa, 23x13x34 cm

Durga is a principal Goddess, also known as Devi & Shakti in Hinduism. The word Durga means ‘beyond defeat’. She is associated with protection, strength, motherhood, destruction and wars. Durga was created for the slaying of the Mahisasura for which she received features from every god. Goddess Durga is also worshipped as ten Mahavidyas named Kali, Tara, Tripura Sundari, Bhubaneshwari, Bhairavi, Chhinamasta, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi and Kamala. Durga, through all her appearance, encompasses the essence of salvation and sacrifice. This beautiful bust of the Goddess Durga is made of bronze with intricate carvings. She is shown with a beautiful smiling face wearing a three-tiered elaborated headdress full of unique designs that make a stunning crown, two beautiful round earrings and a necklace of three strings. Durga is depicted with three eyes. Her two eyes are shown beautifully with arched eyebrows and the third eye is depicted vertically on the forehead. Three eyes signify sun, moon and fire beside the past, present, and future. It also means that she is eternal and will always exist.


Gopaashtami Rajasthan, Nathdwara, Late 19th century C.E Natural Color on textile 108 x 122 inch Acc. No. 87.131/1

Pichhwai painting is large devotional Hindu painted pictures, normally on the cloth, which portrays Lord Krishna. The Sanskrit root of the word Pichhwai depicts pich (behind) and wai (hanging). It is a traditional art that emerged from the 17th century at the Nathdwara temple in Rajasthan. Pichhwai painting is typically hung behind the idol of the deity in local shrines. It is a painting which is elaborated hand-painted artworks to celebrate the different moods and expressions of Lord Krishna. The painting depicts the occasion of Gopasthami (the festival of cattle). Lord Krishna wearing saffron attire and adorned with diamonds, summons them with his melodic flute music, standing on the lotus pedestal surrounded by cows that are decorated with peacock plumes for the festival.

Jahangir Zodiac Rupee (Leo)

Title – Jahangir Zodiac Rupee (Leo) Accession No. – 59.152/3411 Dynasty – Mughal Ruler – Nuruddin Jahangir Period – 1014-1037 A.H = 1605-1628 C.E. Metal – Silver Denomination – Zodiac Rupee Mint – Ahmedabad Dimension – Dia: 2.1 cm

The Mughal Coinage reached its zenith during the period of Jahangir and this passion for coinage is recorded in his memoir Tuzk-i-Jahangiri. Emperor Jahangir issued a series of magnificent coins representing the twelve zodiac signs. In these series of coins, the name of the month that was minted in the reverse of the coin was replaced with the symbol of the corresponding constellation of the month. This resulted in a landmark aesthetic innovation in the Indian Coinage. This silver Zodiac Rupee represents the constellation ‘Leo’ which corresponds to the month of August. Inscription and depiction: Obverse – In centre: Leo sign, Lion standing to left, sanh 13 julus Reverse – In centre: Zar-i-Ahmedabad ra dad Zewar Jahangir Shah-i-Shahanshah Akbar 1027 AH


THE HOLY QURAN India, 18th Century Opaque watercolor and ink on textile Size: 65.5 x 47.5 cm Language: Arabic Script: Naskh and Rīḥān Accession No: 56.94/2

The most unique art object in the collection of manuscript department is this artistically created Talismanic jacket. The jacket is beautifully inscribed in minute Naskh calligraphy all over. Although there is no date, but on the basis of calligraphy and cooperation made with other objects, it can be attributed to 18th century CE. The writing has been done with opaque water colour and ink on cotton cloth, which has been calendared (starched, glazed or smoothed by the use of machine and particular process). The white base cotton jacket has simple straight cut having length up to waist, small round neck, opening from the front and short wide open sleeves. Dark blue piping is around neck, front opening, sleeves, side opening and hem portion and same fabric has also been used for tying six set of tassels; two each on sleeves and one each on sides.. Muslim wore such jackets primarily for three reasons to seek blessing of Allah while going to the battle field, avert illness and ward of enemies, foes and evil. It is common belief among the Muslim that holy words written on this kind of inscribed jacket would protect the wearer from any kind of evil. In this jacket, the names of Allah are written distinctly in bold character which denotes the characteristics of Almighty as Protector.

Swastika (Amulet)

Swastika (Amulet) Taxila (Sirkap) c. 1st Century B.C. Gold Acc. No.: 49.262/9 & 49.262/10

The Taxila Jewellery, dating back to 1st century BCE to 1st Century CE is one of the most prized collections of the National Museum that offers insights about the sophisticated and celebrated gold craftsmanship that existed in India. The square amulets in gold depict one of the ancient auspicious symbols ‘swastika’. Depicted as a symmetrically bent cross motif with a variety of geometric details, the ‘swastika’ continues to be one of the most revered symbols in the Indian subcontinent. The swastika motif in these amulets are made in repoussé technique and surrounded by beaded borders. In the center, at the cross of arms, a diamond shaped depression is hollowed out, while the four ends of arms depict heart-shaped depressions. This was originally on a core of lac and has a provision of four copper ring-hooks at the back for convenient attachment.

Superposed dual shot gun Matchlock and Percussion

Superposed dual shot gun Matchlock and Percussion Delhi 17th Century CE Metal, wood Lt. 168.5 cm 76.788

This is an Indian superposed dual shot gun. It has a lean round barrel that is attached to the fore-end of the gunstock with the help of barrel bands. The ramrod is attached underneath the barrel. The gun has a superposed load and it can fire two shots from a single barrel one after the other. The superposed charges are loaded from the muzzle, one on top of the other. The gun has two different firing mechanisms, namely matchlock, and percussion, with each having a separate trigger. The matchlock firing mechanism includes a serpentine and a priming pan. The percussion firing mechanism includes a hammer and a percussion cap holder. It was initially a matchlock gun. The percussion firing mechanism was added later to the gun. The buttstock of the gun is lean and capped with a bone.

Miniature Temple

Title- Miniature Temple Provenance- Northern India Period- 16th Century C.E. Material- Bronze Dimensions- Ht. 15.2 cm. Wd. 7.7 cm Accession No- 48.4143

A miniature temple containing the four-armed figure of lord Ganesha. The temple is of Northern type and has an elevated tiered base, square on plan, with recessed corners. The Garbha-griha (sanctum) has a pair of door leaves on one side and geometric perforation in Jali pattern on two sides. The terraced base of he curvilinier top has a projection at each corner for hanging the bells. The sikhara is surrounded by a ribbed disc (amalaka) and a tapering kalasa. and is superimposed by miniature models of the shrine itself on the eight directions. There is a small projected groove below the disc for holding the dhvaja- stambha. The base all around bears an inscription in Devanagiri script. The four-armed Ganesha is shown seated in an easy posture on a rectangular pedestal. His right leg is raised and bent at knee, the left being tucked in front. In the rear right hand he holds the tusk, in the front right modaka. and in the near left the trident. On the front left hand he rests the tip of the proboscis. he is crowned and wears bracelets, anklets, etc.

Chased shawl Fibula (tomukch or bamno)

Chased shawl Fibula (tomukch or bamno) Cast Silver Lahul Valley, Himachal Pradesh Dimension: Length: 11 cm., Breadth: 12.3 cm. Accession No. 63.1829/23

This silver chased shawl fibula, locally termed as tomukch or bamno, serves as an important part of a women’s costume of Buddhist communities of Lahaul and Spiti regions of Himachal Pradesh. These two regions, together with Ladakh, are regarded as flourishing centers of Buddhist-Tibetan cultural tradition, located in the Western sub-Himalayan hill area. As they share borderlands with Tibet, the Tibetan cultural concepts flowed through trade routes and became reflected in their religious and cultural practices. Similar types of silver cloaks, termed as sti-bhumni, are also worn by women in the hills north of Shimla. This ornament displays three circular s symbolizing the three gems (S: tri-ratna; Tib: dKon-mch’og-sum) of Buddhism. It is embossed with bands of vegetal scrolls, curvilinear motifs, whorls and has two domical projections set with gemstones that are an allusion to the Tibetan mantra or dhāraṇ̣i ‘Oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ’ (Hail to the Jewel in the lotus, i.e. Avalokiteśvara). The jewelry appears to have a cosmologically inspired design, relating to the cosmic world mountain, stemming from a shared matrix of ancient ideas and habits of perception. It is intended to express a constellation of ideas about fecundity, nourishment, and the wealth of nature and the semiotic symbolism of the balance of feminine and masculine elements. It is not simply decorative but has inherent symbolic values, which may not have functioned as actual aids of meditational practices but they are surely imbued with sacred significance for those who wore them. Nevertheless, the richness of design shows the ingenious regional methods used for fabrication and decoration.

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