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Cambridge reveals rare Indian treasures in two exhibitions

The exhibitions — one on Indian miniature paintings, and the second on Indian coins — are part of Cambridge University’ India Unboxed series.

world Updated: Jun 08, 2017 18:52 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Rama Returns in Victory to Ayodhya, painted around 1780-1790 in the Kangra region.
Rama Returns in Victory to Ayodhya, painted around 1780-1790 in the Kangra region.(The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge)

Some rarely-seen examples of Indian miniature painting from the 16th to the 19th centuries and coins from the 4th century BC to the present have been placed on display at two exhibitions at the University of Cambridge to mark 70 years of India’s independence.

The two exhibitions are part of the university’ India Unboxed series, affiliated to the UK/India 2017 programme run by the British Council.

The exhibition, titled From Kabul to Kolkata: Highlights of Indian Painting in the Fitzwilliam Museum, on till September 3, showcases a selection of the Indian miniature paintings and work produced during the Mughal dynasty and other princely rulers.

Themes reflected in the paintings include religious epic and myth, history, royal portraiture, hunting, natural history, music and architecture. A new catalogue exploring the themes has been written by Marcus Fraser, keeper of Islamic and Indian Manuscripts and Miniatures at the Fitzwilliam Museum, a university release said.

The exhibition Elephants, Deities and Ashoka’s Pillar: Coins of India from Antiquity to the Present, on till October 1, explores the history of India through coins produced from the 4th century BC until recent times.

The coins include cultural, religious, economic and political developments and focus on representative periods of India’s history, ending with a display of banknotes and coins produced since India became independent in 1947.

Tim Knox, director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, said: “The museum has a significant collection of Indian miniature paintings and drawings, the majority unpublished and little known. Many of these exquisite, finely detailed works are going on display for the first time.

“Our coin and medal collections are internationally celebrated and we are delighted to join this important year of Indian culture with some of our finest Indian treasures.”