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Petit Futé's opinion on NATIONAL MUSEUM

Plate millesim 2022

Indian art enthusiasts will be delighted here, as it is the largest and most beautiful museum in the country. It contains collections that trace Indian history back to the Indus civilization (before 1600 BC). The museum exhibits pieces of great historical and cultural value, such as the first Buddha statues dating from the 1st and 2nd centuries. To explore in detail all the corners of the 12 collections, one day would hardly be enough. An audioguide will lead the most hurried visitors in front of the museum's must-see pieces for a 75-minute visit.

Prehistory. This section informs visitors about the way of life of pre-Indus civilizations. The use of materials, their shaping shows the evolution of man in the Indian prehistoric period.

Archaeology. The gallery explores the first traces of civilization up to the medieval period in the 13th century. The Harappan collection contains many priceless treasures. This civilization is considered by archaeologists to be one of the oldest in the world. The highlight of the collection is the Dancing Girl, a bronze figurine that illustrates the mastery of metallurgy 2,500 years before our era. The following rooms focus on the first great Indian empires: Maurya, Shunga, and Satavahana (322 BCE to the first century). The Gupta Gallery highlights what has been considered the golden age of Indian art (4th to 6th century). The artists reached a degree of perfection and finesse in the execution of their works. The two pieces not to be missed are the dancing Shiva and the Shivalinga of Khoh. The visit continues with the gallery of pre-medieval art. Generally speaking, it is characterized by an elongation of the human form and an abundance of ornamentation. The visit to the archaeological section ends with the sculptures of the High Middle Ages, including two thematic galleries devoted to bronzes and Buddhist art. We learn that bronze casting was practiced in lost wax as early as the Harappan period. The Buddhist art collection exhibits two treasures: the bronze representation of Buddha found in Phophnar and the Buddha head from Sarnath.

Anthropology. Nearly 8,000 objects and artifacts reflecting the rites and customs of different Indian ethnic groups are on display here. There are puppets, clothes, masks, weapons, objects of everyday life, jewelry, musical instruments...

Weapons and armors. The oldest weapons date back to the prehistoric era and the most recent to the 19th century. The collection contains priceless pieces of which the magnificent sword of Jaipur or those of the emperor Aurangzeb are exposed here. The daggers are decorated with jade, ivory, crystal and sometimes engraved.

Antiquities of Central Asia. This collection is the result of three expeditions led in the early 20th century by Sir Aurel Stein in Chinese Xinjiang. The explorer traveled the northern and southern silk routes and brought back hundreds of objects.

Decorative arts. The embellishment of everyday objects is very old and goes back to the Harappan civilization. The extraordinary abundance of handicrafts has made it possible to assemble a very important collection spread over four different galleries: the decorative arts themselves occupy two galleries on the first floor and woodcarving and textiles are exhibited on thesecond floor. Numerous techniques are presented through the realization of these magnificent and useful objects: engraving, sculpture, weaving, embossing, inlaying, casting, embroidery, dyeing or braiding.

Jewelry. With 250 pieces of jewelry on display, the National Museum has the most important ornamental collection in the country. The art of ornamentation dates back to the Indus civilizations where women wore necklaces of polished beads. The collection also contains pieces that belonged to Mughal emperors or maharajas. For more than 2,000 years, India was the sole supplier of precious stones, leaving a legacy of ancient craftsmanship.

Manuscripts. The collection contains 14,000 manuscripts, some of which date back to the seventh century. Some of them are illuminated, others are of strictly calligraphic interest. The value of this collection lies in the royal seal affixed to many of the documents.

Numismacy and epigraphy. TheNational Museum has an extraordinary collection because of its diversity and age. The first silver or copper coins with hallmarks date back to the 6th century BC. They were minted by merchant guilds. Gold and silver coins struck with the profiles of Augustus or Tiberius establish links between India and the Romans. Dynastic coinage appeared in the 2nd century BC under the Pahalava Empire. Gold coins from the Kushtana period, the Jahangir zodiac series and rare coins from the princely states of India are on view.

Painting. This section is exclusively dedicated to miniature painting. The four main schools are represented: Deccanian (South India), Mughal (Central and North India), Rajasthani (West India) and Pahari (North Hills).

Pre-Columbian art. The collection of Pre-Columbian art was donated by a private collection of works from Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua.

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Information on NATIONAL MUSEUM

Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm. Closed on Monday and public holidays. Admission: Rs650 (with French audioguide).

Members' reviews on NATIONAL MUSEUM

1 reviews
Value for money
Visited in october 2019
Value for money
Musée très complet à Delhi qui comporte de très belles pièces de toutes époques. Prévoir un peu de temps pour profiter de chaque salle. Je recommande

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