South Asia

Room 41

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The collections from South and South-East Asia comprise nearly 60,000 objects, including about 10,000 textiles and 6,000 paintings covering the Indian subcontinent south of the Himalayas, including India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. The range of the collection is immense.

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The greatest strengths of the collection are in Mughal miniature paintings and decorative arts, especially jades and rock crystal; Indian textiles, including those made for the European and South-East Asian markets; Indian sculpture, especially bronzes; Indian furniture for the Western market; paintings from the Punjab Hill courts; 19th century photographs of India and Burmese decorative arts. Other substantial holdings include jewellery, ceramics, glass, lacquerware, basketry and woodwork from throughout South and South-East Asia and the Himalayas, Tibetan 'tangkas', and Indian film posters and ephemera. The collection of contemporary art from India and Pakistan includes significant works by several major artists.

Collection Highlights

turban ornament
Turban ornament, early 18th century, Mughal empire
mechanical organ
Tippoo's Tiger, mechanical organ, about 1793, Mysore, India
tea set
Tea set, by Oomersi Mawji, 1880 – 90, Bhuj, India
wine cup
Wine cup of Shah Jahan, 1657, Mughal Empire
ikat sari
Ikat sari, designed by Neeru Kumar, made for Tulsi, 2013, Odisha, India
ewer and lid
Ewer and lid, 19th century, Bombay, India

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