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

Meladi Mata no Chandarvo

This textile celebrates and reveres the folk goddess Meladi Mata, depicted at the centre seated on a black goat. According to legend, Goddess Parvati created Meladi from the dirt on her body and bestowed her divine shakti or strength and a black male goat as her mount.  Mata-ni-Pachedi or Chandarvo is a textile painting that… Read more »

Entrance to the temple of Kumbakonam

Kumbakonam, a temple town in Tanjore district of Tamil Nadu, was an important centre in the Chola kingdom from the 9th through 13th centuries. It is home to twelve major temples dedicated to various Hindu deities, each functioning as a primary centre of ritual throughout the year. Many of the early Chola temples here are… Read more »

Gopuram at Trinpatty (Tirupati), Madras

Located in the Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh, the Govindaraja temple in Tirupati is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is one of the earliest temples, dating back to the 12th century AD. Photographed here is the eastern gopura, also known as the Rajagopuram. Straight ahead through the seven-storey structure the photograph also captures much smaller gopura… Read more »

Fort St. David with the French Attack, May 1758

The Fort St. David in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, was originally a British headquarters for southern India, as seen on this map. It was attacked by the French forces led by Dupleix. The fort was renovated by the French in 1782, but then it was captured by the British in 1785. The map highlights the areas… Read more »

Cloud over the landscape

“Cloud over the landscape” is a deep engagement with the subjectivity of maps and their inherent function as history-making devices.Using interventions like painting, erasing and burning the photographic image before it is transferred onto wood, artist Saju Kunhan creates room for accidents, mistranslations and loss of information. In elaborating on his method in the catalogue… Read more »

Untitled (Shiva)

Mithila painting is a traditional mural artform from Madhubani district, Bihar. The artform is known to be a woman’s preserve, one that has roots in the wedding rituals of the Maithil community. Today, many artists from both genders create canvases filled with depictions of religious gods and symbols, socio-political issues, and rural and natural life.… Read more »

Harvest, A Land of Plenty

Rithika Merchant’s paintings are allegorical. They occupy the intersections of mythologies from across cultures to generate modern narratives that look into a re-imagined present. She paints the form of her characters with striking attention, using the medium of gouache to her advantage, as she layers washes of colours with opaque textures onto stained papers. With… Read more »

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 Jagdish 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 »