I love museums, and I can spend hours inside them pottering about and looking at their varied collections. And yet strangely, for some inexplicable reason, I have never really explored the museums in my city of Mumbai. Of course, I have visited them as a child but not really visited them, if you know what I mean.
So one rainy day in August last year, I took the afternoon off from work to see the Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum (BDLM). This was a museum that I had never visited, but one that I had heard about a lot from Appa. I went without a camera as I automatically assumed that, like most Indian museums, photography was not allowed. Big mistake. Non-flash photography was allowed in the Museum, though they don’t really advertise the fact.
The dazzling 3-hour BDLM visit was a visual treat all the way — right from the stately Museum building to its grand interiors (that reminded me of a ballroom) to its tastefully displayed collection — and one that stayed with me longer than the time I spent there. I knew that I didn’t just want to write about the BDLM’s artefacts in my Museum Treasure series, but write an entire post on the Museum itself. And since I wanted to include photographs, I had to wait for an opportunity to visit the BDLM once again. And last month, I got that chance and when the Museum opened it’s doors that Friday morning, I was the first to enter with a big smile and my camera. 🙂
Though I don’t wear much jewellery, especially gold, it doesn’t stop me from admiring it. I love to look and trace the stories conveyed through the jewellery designs with my personal choice veering towards traditional designs in jewellery. In fact, more traditional a piece, the more I like it and feel a connection to it.
The information plaque revealed that all the pieces exhibited in this showcase were acquired through private collectors. Made in various parts of Tamil Nadu, they ranged in age from mid-eighteenth to the early 20th century.
Lets see what each ornament has to say about itself:
The Victoria and Albert Museum (or the V&A) in London has a fantastic collection of artifacts from India, that includes textiles, jewellery, paintings, weapons, etc. While many of these have been purchased by the V&A, some of the exhibits have been acquired during annexation of the princely states of pre-independent India by the British. One such exhibit is the Golden Throne of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, which was acquired as State property in 1849 on the annexation of Punjab.