New Delhi, May 7 : A wide swath of the millennia-old Indian civilization came alive through a cluster of artefacts of astonishing brilliance as the National Museum opened a nearly two-month transcontinental exhibition that takes the viewers on an intriguing and exhilarating trip of the countrys spectacular past and its links with the outside world since antiquity.
"India and The World: A History in Nine Stories", the first of its kind event in India, marks an unprecedented collaboration in museum exhibition with the British Museum, London; National Museum, New Delhi; Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sanghahalaya (CSMVS), Mumbai; and some 20 private collections pooling in their resources for the phenomenal show.
A unique line-up of around 200 ancient and modern exhibits which offer a chronological and thematic depiction of the evolution of India with multiple expressions of art and artefacts, stories and aesthetics was unveiled by IGNCA President Ram Bahadur Rai.
Some of the eye-popping objects on display include the oldest known hand-axe in the world (1.7-1.07 million years) from Attirampakkam, Tamil Nadu; a replica of the Dancing Girl of Mohenjodaro (2500 BC); a gold-horned Harappan humped bull (1800 BC); a Mughal miniature-inspired work by Rembrandt; an Ashokan Edict (250 BC); and an imprint of the Constitution of India having more than 50 paintings supervised by the renowned artist Nandalal Bose.
Rai described the exhibition as a "journey through history", taking Indians to "moments in history that are a matter of pride for us".
"This is also a celebration of cultural exchanges and a moment to remember that our civilization has existed for millions of years and what it has given to the world in terms of culture, science and spirituality," he said.
The 7-week epical exhibition at the museum, which comes after a successful showing in Mumbai, commemorates 70 years of Indian independence and a year of major cultural exchange between India and the UK.
By offering 124 objects, the British Museum has become the biggest lender for the show and some of these exhibits have never been shown in India earlier.
Hartwig Fischer, Director, British Museum said India and the World represented a new approach and new model of museum exhibition that sets one culture in a global context of shared histories and common ground, looking at similarities and differences and combing the strength of their collections and expertise.
"This is a history you will not find in textbooks and schools, in that provides a better understanding of how one culture has been in communication and exchange with another.
It marks a new dimension and new stage in cooperation between global museums," he said.
Conceived over a period of two years of intense planning and curatorial brainstorming, "India and the World" has been jointly curated by a team in the UK and India with Jeremy David Hill from the British Museum and Naman P.
Ahuja of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi as the co-curators.