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Vajrayogini Mandala

Vajrayogini Mandala 19th-20th Century Ladakh Wood, Copper Alloy Size: 24.6 cm. Acc. No.64.14/A-B

A set of two mandalas dedicated to Vajrayogini, venerating the mother of all Buddhas in Anuttarayoga Tantra. She is depicted as red with a willowy figure and a wrathful visage. She stands in alidha asana while she holds a skull cup and a kartika in her left and right hands. She is also associated with Siddha Naropa as his yogini. Mandalas are an essential aspect of Buddhist worship and ritual practices. Mandala houses the essence of the deity enclosed within a sacred enclosure. She stands inside a red hexagram surrounded by eight great charnel grounds. The outer rim of the mandala is decorated with vajra motifs. The wooden plaque depicts the deity, and the copper plaque represents the seed syllable of Vajrayogini.

Virgin and Child

Virgin and Child Goa, India Wood Size: 218 x 167 cm. Acc. No.: 77.271

Virgin and Child, also known as Madonna and Child or Virgin Mary and Child, is a representation of the Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus. In this painting, Virgin Mary is seen holding an infant (Jesus) who raises his hand in benediction towards the viewer. Both of them have a halo over their heads and are surrounded by angels. The painting contained some problems like Dust and Dirt, Flaking, Loss of Varnish in some Places, Paint Stains at some places, Bulging in some places and long cracks in the Painting due to gap in Wooden panels on both Left Hand Side and Right Hand Side. The basic conservation treatment was given to the painting by National Museum Conservation Laboratory and the painting is in Display in PCWA gallery at present.

Polychrome Container

Title Polychrome Container Accession Number GP.G.5/952 Museum Name National Museum, New Delhi Gallery Name Pre-History Object Type Pre-History Main Material Terracotta Origin Place Nal Period / Year of Work Harappan Dimensions Ht-9.52cm

Polychrome container with flat wide base and cylindrical body and a small mouth, has intricate design ed by the placing of closely spaced motifs at regular intervals.

Vak-Devi, the Goddess of Speech and Learning, displaying her omni manifestation (viratasvarupa)

Artist: Unknown, Rajasthan,
Date: 19th century, Medium: Gouache on paper
Dimensions: 290 x 210 mm (11 x 8 in)
Acc. No.: 82.489

Vak-Devi, the Goddess of Speech, occupies a pre-eminent place in the Tantric pantheon. Her head reaches above the clouds; her feet are firmly planted on the earth. The central axis of the goddess’s body is dotted with diminutive figures of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Goddess Sarasvati presides over her tongue. These, along with figures of sages and ascetics painted on parts of her omnipotent body proclaim her supremacy over all. Known as Varneshvari, Empress of Letters, or Varnajanani, Mother of Letters, she is the source of articulated speech and the energetic force of alphabets as nuclear sound-syllables (bija-mantras) invoked in Tantric rituals.

Kite Seller

Kite Seller Company School, circa 19th century Paper, 18.2 x 21.1 cm Acc. No. 60.132

India has an ancient tradition of kite flying. It is believed this tradition has been brought into the country by Chinese travelers Huin Tsang and F Hien. In earlier times, kites were usually rectangular and flat and were used for measuring distance, signaling, and also for communicating military operations. Talking about India, the country also celebrates many festivals centered on kite flying, for instance, the international kite festival of Makarshankranti, also known as Uttarayan in Gujarat. The scene beautifully illustrates a Kite Seller seated on a raised high plinth in his shop holding a blue kite in his hand and conversing with a Kite buyer. The buyer holds a yellow kite and the handle of a kite string reel. The Kite seller is clad in a simple white kurta and dhoti with a pink turban while, the buyer is shown wearing a white kurta, blue striped pajama (trousers), a waistcloth belt, a turban, and a pair of traditional jutti (footwear). Rectangular wooden tables where sheets of paper for kite making are placed in front of the seller. Behind him, a hookah, basket with various other colorful kites can be seen along with tools for kite making are kept beside him. In the background, a Kite stand is placed where decorated colorful kites of different shapes are shown hanging on display.

Kushana Coin

Dynasty: Kushan
Ruler: Kanishka I
Date: c. 1st Century CE
Denomination: Dinar
Metal: Gold
Accession Number: 60.1165/3901

Obverse: In centre – King depicted standing, offering at altar holding trident. The Greek legends around- SHAO NANO SHAO KANISHKI KOSHANO. Reverse: In centre - Four armed Siva depicted standing holding trident & antelope and damaru & water vessel in his hands. The Monogram is visible. The Greek legends around- OESHO.


1863 CE,
23×26.4 cm,
Hindi (Awadhi); Script: Devanāgarī,

Rāmacharitamānas Period: 1863 CE Dimension: 23×26.4 cm Language: Hindi (Awadhi); Script: Devanāgarī Accession no. : 82.1 Rāmacharitamānas or lake of the deeds of Rāma is one of the important manuscripts of the National Museum Collection. The text was originally composed in Awadhi language by Goswāmī Tulsīdas (c. 1554-1623 CE). Divided in seven kāndas(chapters), the text revolves around various episodes and stories of Rāma. It is a complete copy of the text and consists of 124 beautiful miniature paintings showcasing the journey of Rāma in visual . The frontispiece bears a royal seal which reads ‘Rajdhani Chhatarpur’ in Hindi-Devanāgari and ‘Chhatarpur’ in the English-Roman characters. The colophondates the completion of this copy in Vikram Samvat 1920 (1863 CE). The name of scribe is Sivaram. Interestingly, the colophon further mentions that this particular copy was prepared on the orders of King Jagat Raj Mahipal of Chatarpur State.

Globular Sailabchi (Wash basin)

Title​​​: Globular Sailabchi (Wash basin)
Medium​​: Bidriware
Dimensions​​: Ht. 17.8; Dia. (rim): 30.9 cm.
​​​Dia. (base): 10.9 cm.
Period/ Provenance​: 19th CE; Hyderabad
Acc. No. ​​: 57.87/15

A very significant contribution, other than in the field of paintings made by Persian and near-east art in the Indian cultural sphere is the application of exquisite decorations on articles of daily use. A major item in the latter category is Bidari or Bidriware which was flourished around 17th-18th CE in and around Bidar area, Hyderabad (presently bidar is in Karnataka state) and later reached its greatest perfection and beauty. Like other Persian utensils of metal with scripts and designs produced by inlaying gold and silver, this particular type of work was probably developed by experimenting with various alloys to guarantee brilliance by contrast. The basic material of Bidriware is an alloy of zinc, copper and lead; other than metals like iron or copper, which were generally used by the Persian craftsmen for inlay work. This particular combination of zinc and copper does not rust or corrode, but is brittle and liable to break, if dropped. The mixture of zinc and copper is in the ratio of 16:1. The utility of copper is mainly to allow zinc to take a better polish. There are usually five phases in the production- casting, polishing, engraving, inlaying and blackening the alloy. Sailabchi, a kind of particular vessel which was very popular both in the zenana (females) and in the gentlemen’s sitting room for washing the hands. This globular sailabchi (wash basin) is with a ring base, bulbous body having a circular moulding over the constricted neck and a shallow basin on top having a large cavity in the centre for receiving water, perforated detachable lid depicting floral motifs with a knob in the centre. The upper surface of the basin is divided into five concentric bands having hemispherical motif in the first and fifth band, white cross against a dark rectangle in the second and fourth band, while nine ovals shaped medallions enclosing floral plants, amidst floral plants motif in the third large band. The lower part of the basin (globular shaped) is divided into seven bands. The first one from the base has drop like design, the second one has a zig-zag line shape design, third and fifth have white cross against a dark square, the fourth one has oval shaped medallions enclosing floral plants same as on the third large band on the upper part of the rim; sixth and seventh have some geometrical decoration. The decoration is done in silver with tehnishan (inlay of sheet), aftabi (cut out designs in over laid metal sheet) and tarkashi (inlay of wire) techniques.

Thousand-Armed Avalokiteshvara (Mandala of Avalokiteshvara)

Thousand-Armed Avalokiteshvara (Mandala of Avalokiteshvara)
Dunhuang, 8th – 10th century CE
Painting on silk
189 x 143 cm
Acc. No. Ch. xxviii 006

Mandala or circle, is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the universe. The circular designs symbolizes the idea that life is never ending and everything is connected. This large rectangular banner is showing the ‘Mandala of Avalokiteshvara’. In the center of an illustrious circle, there is a flamboyant aureole with a flaming border and thousands of eyes. The Thousand Arms Avalokiteśvara is seated in Vajrasana on a multi-colored lotus seat in the middle. His forehead has a half-closed third eye and the front two arms are in Anjali Mudra (Namashkar) with different arms holding many other divine objects. On his tiara Amitabh is depicted. In the left corner of the banner is decorated with the moon Bodhisattva. He is sitting in Vajrasana on the lotus with five gooses in the front. He is holding lotus buds in both of his hands. Behind his head a golden halo has been illustrated. On the right corner of the banner is decorated with the Sun Bodhisattva. He is sitting in Vajrasana on the lotus with five horses in the front. He is holding lotus buds in both of his hands. Behind his head a golden halo has been illustrated. In the right middle corner of the banner, Rsi Vasu is depicted sitting on the lotus, with dark golden halo behind his head. In the left side middle corner of the banner, Sridevi is depicted sitting on the lotus, with dark golden halo behind her head. She is offering flowers to Thousand Arms Avalokiteshvara. On the beautiful green Kaleen (Carpet) with red border, two small figures Sun and moon are supporting an illustrious circle ed with purple clouds in which Thousand arms Avalokiteshvara is shown. In bottom is the Blue-faced Vajra Kundalin and to the left is fiery-headed Ucchusma. The two Naga Kings Nanda and Upananda uphold the stem of the lotus that s the seat of Avalokiteshvara. The painting depicts both Indian and Chinese elements concerning facial features, drapery and floral representations.


Rajasthan; Late 17th-Early 18th Century C.E
L- 49 cm
Acc. No. 96.336/1

This is a Pesh Qabz dagger, (pesh- front, qabz- grip) meaning foregrip. Straight bladed daggers such as Pesh Qabz have acutely tapering blades. It is originally from Persia and became popular in India during the Mughal period. This is a single-edged pointed dagger with a broad T-rib along the straight back blade. The dagger is made of a watered steel blade that has a thickened point. The blade has a cavity at the centre on either side which is decorated with foliage designs damascened in gold. The ricasso of the blade is decorated with floral designs on either side and has an inscription on one side. The hilt is made of two steel plates that are hinged together and open at the tang (top) of the hilt. The tang acts as a screw to fasten the hilt. The hilt is lavishly damascened in gold with floral designs. The grip of the hilt depicts the hunting of tigers on either side.

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