Sunday, April 3, 2016

Stamp a Trip to Jadughar

Indian Museum (also known as Jadughar in the bygone era) has been a repository of art, artifacts, sculpture and rarities for over 200 years. It celebrated its bicentennial in 2014 with celebrations throughout the year. A souvenir sheet of three postage stamps was released in February 2014 to commemorate the occasion. This stamp sheet was prepared with images of masks, paintings and sculptures from the museum's collection. Another stamp was released as part of the Museums of India stamp set in July 1978. This stamp (see image below) showed a 2nd century BC. sculpture from Besnagar, Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh. A banyan tree, considered a wish-fulfilling one, is surrounded by a fence. Above the fence a lotus, a conch shell and vase with coins are depicted. This sculpture, believed to have been a part of a pillar is now placed at the main entrance of the Indian Museum.

During a visit to the museum in 2015, it was noticed that most of the galleries were either closed or were under renovation. Even though only about 20% of the museum was accessible, some images are from that trip to the museum. One big change that was noticeable was the removal of the fountain in the central portico of the museum's iconic building. Now this open space is used for staged events. See in the image below (first row), last two images show the current state and an old image with the fountain and a four directional path leading to it. Laid in three rows below are images of the objects used to design the recent stamp souvenir sheet. It provides a decent insight into the collection of this museum. That said, in its current state, the museum is best viewed virtually. All galleries and collections must be spruced up and opened at the earliest for visitors to enjoy a trip in history.

Artifacts from Indian Museum, Kolkata used to design the stamp Souvenir Sheet
First row (left to right): Sculpture (2nd BCE) from a railing leading to a gateway in Bharhut Gallery, main building without the fountain (current state) and main building with fountain (old image)

Second row (left to right): Papier mache Ganesha mask (20th c.), Bamboo-clay-cloth mask of Aristhasura (21st c.) used for Satriya Dance in Assam, Bamboo-clay-cloth mask of Baghasura (21st c.) used for Satriya Dance in Assam, Wooden mask of Kali (20th c.) used for Kali Nach in Malda and Papier mache-cloth-clay-tinsel Durga mask (21st c.) by Kanchan Sutradhar used for Chhau Dance in Purulia

Third row (left to right): Turkey cock by Ustad Mansur (1612 AD) using Gouache on paper, Buddha sculpture in Bhumisparsa Mudra (11th c.) from Chittagong in Bangladesh, Siva the archer (19th c.) in Kangra Pahari style using Gouache on paper and Kalpasutra (17th c.) Jainism painting in Western Indian style using Gouache on paper
Souvenir Sheet of Stamps released in 2014 to celebrate the bicentennial of Indian Museum, Kolkata
Design: Sankha Samanta
The image on the left of the stamp sheet is a 10-11th c. sandstone sculpture from Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh) showing a mother with three children, one in her arms and two standing on both sides. Images for this sculpture and another painting (next to the masks in the stamp sheet) could not be obtained for sharing here.
A stamp from 1978 Museums of India stamp set depicted Kalpavriksha, wish-fulfilling tree