Museum objects, artifacts, and archival items from the Sarmaya collection.

The Qutub Minar, Delhi

Pictured here is the 239-foot Qutub Minar, the highest brick minaret in the world. Construction on this iconic tower of victory was begun by Qutb-ud-Din Aibak (r.1206-1210), the first Sultan of Delhi and founder of the Slave Dynasty, and later continued by Shams-ud-Din Iltutmish (r.1211-1236). Accompanying the adjacent Quwwat-ul-Islam Masjid, the minaret rises in five… Read more »

The Asoka Rock, Junagadh

Pictured here is the Girnar Rock Edicts in Junagadh, Gujarat, photographed by D. H Sykes in 1869. Located on the foothills of the Mount Girnar in Gujarat, the Girnar Rock Edicts, also known as the Junagadh Rock Inscriptions, are collections of 14 significant Prakrit edicts or inscriptions credited to Ashoka, the 3rd century Mauryan King.… Read more »

Ceylan (Ceylon)

This undated photograph from Sri Lanka was taken by photographer WLH Skeen’s eponymous studio – a leading photography studio in the country during the colonial-era. Since the Anuradhapura Kingdom, founded in 377 BCE (and lasting until 1017 CE), and until the Kandyan Kingdom of 1591-1815, Sri Lanka has seen a continual string of monarchies for… Read more »

Hoshang Shah’s Tomb (Jama Masjid), Mandu

The photograph documents the north eastern profile of the structure known as the Tomb of Hoshang Shah, a powerful Pathan Sultan ruling the Kingdom of Malwa. A commanding structure in the 16th century, the tomb is seen here in a ruinous condition. The photo is mistakenly identified as the Jama Masjid of Mandoo because the… Read more »

Untitled #55 (From Batin)

Untitled #55 is part of Chasmawala’s recent series of works, where she employs materials like ink and calligraphy tools that speak of filial as well as political histories of mark-making, to situate them in the present context of drawing as performance. As Skye Arundhati Thomas writes in the catalogue for Chasmawala’s solo show Batin, “It… Read more »

Untitled #54 (From Batin)

Untitled #54 is part of Chasmawala’s recent series of works, where she employs materials like ink and calligraphy tools that speak of filial as well as political histories of mark-making, to situate them in the present context of drawing as performance. As Skye Arundhati Thomas writes in the catalogue for Chasmawala’s solo show Batin, “It… Read more »

Rama and Lakshmana going to the Jungle

This shadow puppet of Rama and his brother Lakshmana is a Togalu Gombeyatta puppet, a shadow puppet tradition of Karnataka, India. It translates to the dance of leather puppets, with ‘Togalu’ meaning leather, ‘Gombe’ meaning a doll or a puppet and ‘atta’ meaning dance.  Southern Indian shadow play is known to be the oldest in the… Read more »

Mother

“Mother” was painted on Siji Krishnan’s return from a residency at the Koganecho Art Center in Yokohama, Japan. Centred alone in the painting is a lady holding a contemplative expression, evoking a sense of solitude as she seems at complete ease with her body and the cat in her lap. The decision to draw this… Read more »

Jahaz Mahal, Mandoo

This photograph documents a close up of the facade of the Jahaz Mahal or the ‘Ship Palace’ at Mandoo (Mandu) in Madhya Pradesh. The main entrance to the fortress called the Delhi Darwaza leads directly to the Jahaz Mahal. The exact dates on which the palace was constructed are unknown, but historians attribute it to… Read more »

Bada Dev

Gond is a celebrated, shared art tradition practised by the Gond-Pradhan community in India. It was first ‘discovered’ by Jayant Swaminathan, searching for original artworks from Indian tribes in the 1970s. The search ended with him meeting the talented artist Jangarh Singh Shyam, considered the pioneer of Gond art. The themes revolve upon ritualistic idols… Read more »

Humayun, Copper Falus of Mandu Mint

In his tumultuous reign, Humayun lead several expeditions, one such being to the Kingdom of Malwa. In the early 16th century, Humayun conquered the fortress of Mandu, inside which the Sultan of Gujarat Bahadur Shah had shut himself. Humayun’s soldiers scaled the fort walls through ropes and ladders in the middle of the night and… Read more »

Qutb Shahi Tombs, Hyderabad

Here is a view of the Qutb Shahi Tombs in Hyderabad, as captured by Lala Deen Dayal. Located near the historic Golconda Fort, the tombs are an indelible part of Hyderabad’s skyline. Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah founded the city in 1591 by, moving away from the historic capital at Golconda. The Qutb Shahi empire was… Read more »

Havva ki Nakahi

Havva ki Nakahi is part of a suite of seventeen works called Naguftaha – e – Hawwa (The unspoken words of Hawwa) that, in gallerist Mortimer Chatterjee’s words, “explores the relationship of Adam and Eve (Havva ) in the Islamic tradition and the ejection of Eve from heaven”. The work is a typical example of… Read more »

Indian Jewellery

This early 20th century book remains one of the most definitive surveys of Indian jewellery. It showcases native ornaments from across British India, divided into ten regional sections: Delhi and the United Provinces of Agra and Oud; Rajputana and Malwa; Panjab, Kashmir, Afghanistan; Bombay Presidency; Bombay [and Central Provinces]; Madras Presidency; Bengal; Eastern Bengal and… Read more »

Pagodas at Maugry with a distant view of Sewandroog

Sewandoorg (Savandurga) is a prominent hill in Karnataka. It was fortified in 1543 by an officer of the Vijayanagara kings. It was then acquired by the chief of Bangalore in 1570, with whom it remained until it was taken by Mysore in 1728. During Lord Cornwallis’ exploits in 1791, it was captured by the British.… Read more »

Untitled

Bhil painting, traditionally made on walls, is practised  today on canvas by one of the oldest tribal communities of India – the Bhils. Residing in the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, etc, they live lives that are intricately connected with nature. This aspect is clearly evident in their art. The Bhils use dashes and… Read more »

Study III: Sea of Untold Stories

In this painting Desmond Lazaro is highlighting his personal experience of belonging to two different places, a theme he addresses in a large number of his works. It is a miniature composition of a white bird (assumed to be a dove) resting on top of a three-paneled box, with a minimal colour palette and handmade… Read more »

Khandala Railway Station

This photograph of the Khandala railway station in the Bombay Presidency (today in Maharashtra) is attributed to Alice Tredwell, a mid nineteenth century railway contractor and photographer. She had arrived in India with her husband, Solomon Tredwell, a railway contractor in 1859 for working on the completion of the Bhor Ghat section of the Great… Read more »