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6 Jul, 2013

Renovated gallery of Decorative Arts reopened at National Museum, New Delhi


New Delhi, 5 July 2013 – Chandresh Kumari Katoch, Union Minister of Culture here today re-opened the renovated gallery of Decorative Arts-I at the National Museum. Decorative arts are those arts related to the design and decoration of objects of utility. Artifacts of this 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.

The present decorative arts gallery I mainly focuses on three main materials; ivory, jade and ceramics. Each medium is represented by a group of seven or eight showcases to portray the diverse nature of artifacts and the high quality of craftsmanship. The Ivory group highlights boxes, sandals, utilitarian artifacts and images of Hindu and Christian religious figures. The Jade section showcases the utilitarian, while the glazed tiles, blue-white pottery and celadon items are in the ceramic group, which have been displayed for the first time.

Two themes; ‘leisure/ancient games’ and ‘throne story’, have been developed with the help of artifacts made of various materials besides the main three categories. Dancers, musicians, rattles, yo-yo, gamesman of chess, chaupar and gyan chaupar and top made of ivory, bone, jade, glass beads, wood and metal are fine examples of leisure and ancient games traditions of India.

The second theme ‘throne story’ indicates the evolution of the seat of power. From the low flat seats of antiquity to the modern armed chair, the journey of the throne is a fascinating story. A huge intricately carved home shrine and some metal Hindu and Jain ‘pitikas’ (small seats for keeping idols for home shrines) are the important religious objects. Two stone thrones, and the jewel studded chair with foot rest of the King of Banaras, Uttar Pradesh, along with elegant throne legs are displayed.

Some outstanding pieces have been displayed against the four pillars like ‘meditating Buddha’ inside the lattice case and Dashavatar shrine depicting ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu made of ivory, the cloth painted gyan chaupar, the silver tray depicting Kaurava’s court scene, five feet elephant tusk carved with life scenes of Lord Buddha, jade surahi, armrest, chauri and the huqqa inscribed with the name of Mughal Emperor Jahangir and the white-blue ceramic ware. All these artifacts help in understanding the artistic taste of patrons and craftsmanship of artisans prevalent during the 18th-19th century AD.

This permanent gallery will remain open to the public everyday from 10:00 a.m. to 5: 00 p.m. except Mondays and national holidays.