India and Britain are planning a novel project for digitisation of Indian hand drawn pictures of the East India Company period, including over 50 of Taj Mahal, which are now among the collections of British institutions.
The project will be part of a series of collaborations that are being planned with Britain, Jawhar Sircar, Secretary of Ministry of Culture said on Monday ,and termed it as the most interesting of the proposals which are being discussed.
The nearly two-century-old pictures "are dated back to the pre-camera days" and would give an interesting insight of Indian art in that period.
"These are pictures from the time when company servants used to send back home drawings of artists from India. Most of these pictures are presently with the British Museum and British Library and we are attempting to achieve a common digitisation programme," he said.
He added that among these collections are some 50-60 pictures of the Taj Mahal drawn almost 150 years back.
"You can imagine how interesting it would be for people here to see how the Taj looked at that time," he said.
The official advocated more exchange with museums and art sectors of the world."We have intensified discussions (with British officials) and programmes are being worked out. Right now a team of personnel from India are in the UK as part of a major familiarity programme for middle-level museum personnel," he said.
Also on the list of collaborations with Britain is exchange of personnel, human resource and training, and joint publications, he said.
Art lovers in India will also get a view of rare antiquities from China as four cities, including Delhi in the country will hold special exhibitions dedicated to artifacts from the neighbouring country.
The exhibitions is expected to begin on February 19 and will be held in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Kolkata.
The exhibitions of Chinese antiquities is also part of the exchanges with the outside world that the Ministry of Culture is undertaking in the fields of arts.
"Two years back we held major displays of Indian antiquities in China, and this year four Indian cities are hosting special exhibitions of artifacts from China," said Sircar.