THE TIMES OF INDIA, January 27, 2015
NEW DELHI: Visitors to National Museum will be able to visit a unique exhibition starting on Tuesday. The 53-day exhibition is being organized in collaboration with the Aesthetics Project and showcases the eclectic but relatively neglected art of southern India—roughly 400 years till the 19th century.
Titled 'Nauras: The Many Arts of the Deccan', the exhibition is a platform for academics, artisans and performers to explore a variety of topics on India's art history and its aesthetic heritage. It concludes on March 20 and has 120 objects on display from the museums own reserves. Curated by art historians Dr Preeti Bahadur and Dr Kavita Singh, the exhibition has one exhibit on loan from the National Gallery of Modern Art, a famed Ragamala painting.
National Museum director-general Dr Venu Vasudevan said that 'Nauras' would be the first-ever showcase of Deccan's art between the 16th and the 19th centuries when the region witnessed a lot of give-and-take in its culture. "While exhibiting the arts, we are also outlining the fascinating history of the region," he said, adding, "The exhibition is the result of six months of work. It must trigger fresh academic and general interest on Deccani culture of the yore." Split into six sections, 'Nauras' highlights Deccani cosmopolitanism, its singing sultans, perfumes, the Mughal presence, trade goods and royal lineages. Important objects at 'Nauras' include a painting of al-Buraq (a marbled painting from Bijapur showing Rustom capturing a horse), leaves from an early Ragamala from Ahmednagar or Bijapur, a Kalamkari coverlet from Bijapur of 1630, an 18th-century Qanat from Burhanpur, an embroidered temple hanging from Vijayanagara, the Kitab-i-Nauras manuscript from Bijapur, Deccani copies of the Ajaib al Makhluqat, a book of the wonders of the world, and the armour of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb who spent years fighting military campaigns in the Deccan.
Museum officials said that highly skilled artists and craftsmen of Bahamani Sultanate produced exquisite paintings, manuscripts, metal-ware, textiles, and arms. "The long coastline of the peninsula fostered trade contacts with regions as far as Southeast Asia, Africa and Europe and goods from the Deccan were in high demand in many parts of the world. Intercultural contacts also resulted in the adaptation of aesthetic tastes and diverse traditions at the local level," said the Aesthetics Project's trustee and sponsor Renu Judge.