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AN EXHIBITION ON VASANTOTSAV (25th March – 10th April, 2015)
The name Basant is from Sanskrit “Vasant” meaning “spring”, and during that season of the year Basant may be performed at any time of the day or night. Otherwise, it is reserved for the time between 9 PM to midnight. In the Indian musical tradition Ragmala gives Basant as putra (son) of Hindol, also a raga called Vasanta. Spring, which brings vitality and vigour, is undoubtedly the season of love. In ancient times, it was the occasion when lovers prayed for a fruitful life of togetherness. Basant Panchmi is also considered auspicious time for weddings and stating new ventures. Festival of spring in India begins with Makar Sankranti and ends with Maha Shivratri. Amir Khusro and Nizamuddin Auliya celebrated the festival with songs that used the word basant (festival). Khusrau, a Sufi-poet of the 13th Century, composed verses about Vasanta. Amidst the festivities of the spring season Allahabad Museum has put up this exhibition on the theme of vasanta as has been depicted in the art forms both on Terracotta and Indian miniature. The collection shows here in the exhibition elucidates the moods of people and the sound of music suited to the season.
EXHIBITION ON WOMEN IN INDIAN ART (17th May, 2015)
The Women in India have often played a regressive role in society. Bowing to the dictates of a predominantly patriarchal society, the woman was assigned the role of a homemaker, nurturer, a wife, a mother and at times a lover. Indian art and artists has mirrored the social status of women, which is why though most of Indian art does have women as the central theme, their portrayal is often one dimensional. The Ajanta paintings are the most famous in the history of Indian art. Here too the ‘heroines’ of the works are portrayed as voluptuous temptresses, stressing in the fertility aspect in their ample curves. This trend is further elaborated in the Mauryan, Buddhist art styles... the ideal of female beauty was always the broad-hipped chil-bearing woman. If woman were ever depicted as having power it was always in the sexual sense-the sculptures of the women in Khajuraho frescos are assured and supremely confident in their sexuality. Yet, even in these depictions, we can glimpse the importance of women in Indian history and mythology. In this exhibition on ‘Women in Indian Art’ the Allahabad Museum has displayed some of the finest work from its modern painting collection. In particular there is the spectacular painting ‘Sanvari’ which is one of the largest wash paintings in India. Similarly the work of the famous artist Jamini Roy in ‘Santhal Women’ is sticking. The exhibition is a tribute to women and their important role in the world.
AN EXHIBITION ON MOTHER’S DAY - THE REVERED MOTHER & HER VIRTUES (09th May, 2015)
Mother is the embodiment of activity, power and force (Shakti). By virtue of all these attributes, she protects her children from onslaughts and demonical influences. She is the tutelary deity of every village in India from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Kutch to Kuchahar. In every hut in the village, some form of Jhunti, alpana or chitra (kinds of wall decoration) often can be seen. Most of these drawings are symbolic in nature bearing hidden many co-religious characters that protects the house from all kinds of troubles. These depictions are found in the murals of village huts as well as in the Shakti temples. Moreover, the most commonly seen figures are drawings of yantra and other mystical symbols, which can be associated with the vedic especially the Atharvaveda drawings of altar. Paintings, stone sculptures and photographs of the various guises and moods of the mother as has been represented in various art forms are showcased in this exhibition. The objective of the exhibition is to bring an awareness of the qualities of mother especially the women. It is the women who are biologically capable of bearing a child therefore if the girl child is alive than the whole world would survive. Let us all make an endeavor to protect the mother or the girl child who will eventually make the mother earth sustained. Museum is the index of the culture of a region. It has a great role to play in educating the audience visiting the museum. Keeping in view the International Mother’s Day in the month of May, Allahabad Museum thought to setup an exhibition in an exclusive manner highlighting the virtue of the revered Mother on Mother’s day.
AN EXHIBITION ON COIFFURES IN INDIAN ART FROM THE COLLECTIONS OF ALLAHABAD MUSEUM (17th June – 17th July, 2015)
The literary citations to the coiffures known to the Vedic period are copious. The variety of hair styles mentioned in the Vedic literature shows the importance the people of period gave to hair dressing. It has been customary with human being in all ages to arrange their hairs in one way or other. The beautification of the hair is innate in exception. The Vedic literature mentions words like opaśa, kaparda, kumba, kurīra, keśa, śikhanda, śikha, sīman pulasti, stukā, etc. which connote the coiffures. Opaśa has worn by men consisted in gathering up of the hair with a small top knot leaving it loose enough to form a dome like cover or flounced cap. The hair style looked like a thatched net or covered roofing of the house when worn by women. Kaparda was another way of hair dressing accepted both by men and women. When it was worn by men it was always a spiral coil of the braided plaited, matted hair piled on the top of the head in different angles. It is frequently mentioned as worn by Kapardin gods and their followers. Kurīra could have been a horn shaped coiffure, possible with the long braids of the women. A net or veil might have been hung from their horn. It is interesting to note that such hairstyles still survives in the hair styles of the women living in the tracts between the upper Sutlej & Ganga Kumba is clearly from Khompa, with hemispherical or pot shaped coil at the back of the head. This hair style is evidently feminine. Sīman meaning the parting of the hair occurs in the Atharvaveda and later works. Pulasti in the Yajurveda Samhita, this word is mentioned to mean the hair worn in plain style. Stukā in the Vedic literature probably means the braids of hair. The Vedic people were also in the habbit of using diadems or tiaras for the decoration of the hair and the word used for this is tirīta. Śikhā in the Śatapatha Brāhmana, the term śikhā refers to the knot of the hair worn up on the top of the head. The loose top knot was sign of mourning in the case of both the women and men. Many of the hair style like lambataka, praveni, Keśapāśa (bun) pony, pony-tail, pig tail, curly hair (chūrna kuntala) that appears in sculptures, paintings and also in literature survive even today. An ‘Exhibition on coiffures in Indian Art’ through the different types of hair styles shown on the sculptures, Terracotta, modern and miniature paintings of Allahabad Museum are an endeavor to throw light on the variety of coiffures popular in Shunga, Kushan, Gupta and Chandela period. The exhibits are found from Ahichchhatra, Kaushambi, Rajghat, Khajuraho. Miniature paintings followed by Modern painting depicts different types of hair style justifying an un-interrupted continuity of such art style in Indian culture.
The other project on strategic change to improve visitors experience in the museum’s archeological section is the New Indus Showcase on Mohenjodaro objects. ●Objective: Educating the audience about River Valley Civilization Yester day ,today and tomorrow through the Change Change for a better understanding of archeological exhibits. ●Challenges: Misnomer about Indus Valley, what were these objects meant for? Display of the antiquities with the support of maps, charts and by fabricating the broken unfinished objects into their realistic look so that the audience can understand what those fragments of archeological objects used for such as Bangles with dancing girl wearing bangles, wheel into wheeled cart pulled by bulls, map showing the extent of Indus Civilisation spreading over 1 million sq. km. ●Visitor Experience was improved, people are spending more time in viewing these objects.●Write ups Maps and aids helping them to unraveling the mute artifacts, recent findings of Indus Valley sites. Now these are more informative and engaging.
Exhibition on Bengal School Painting
As rotating the Modern Art Collection a month long exhibition on Bengal School Painting was inaugurated in the Allahabad Museum on 9th July, 2013.
Heritage Trail Exhibition in Allahabad museum for students audience
Allahabad Museum has developed a special tour of 10 of its highlight objects, Objects in the Heritage Trails includes-
1) 20th century painting of the court of Chandragupta Maurya
2) Coping stone and railing pillar from the stupa at Bharhut 2nd Cent. BC.
3) Sandstone sculpture of Shiva-Parvati (9th Cent. AD)
4) Sandstone sculpture of Adinath (10th Cent. AD)
5) Terracotta model of a human abdomen (2nd Cent. BC)
6) Terracotta toy cart (2nd Cent. AD)
7) 19th century painting depicting the hunt for a rat
8) 19th century chainmail armour
9) The pistol of Chandra Shekhar Azad
10) Ostrich egg
The aforesaid highlight objects are creating a journey through Indian history from antiquity to the modern world.
Major Exhibition on Asit Kumar Haldar’s paintings
A national exhibition based on Asit Kumar Haldar’s Paintings which Allahabad Museum holds the largest collection in the country was inaugurated by Shri Palok Basu, Hon’ble Justice, Allahabad High Court exhibited from 8th of June 2013 to 8th July 2013.
Exhibition Report 2015-16 Click here to see calendar 2015-16