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I first came to know of the Kapdaganda Shawl’s story at the Odisha State Museum in Bhubaneswar, a few years ago. Ever since, I have been quite fascinated by it and have taken every opportunity to tell friends, and those I come in contact with about the Dongria Tribe and its Shawl of Love. What is it? This colourful shawl, embroidered with motifs and designs on both sides is attributed to Dongria Kondh tribe of Odisha. It is intricately woven and…

This is probably the most-photographed sculpture at the Salar Jung Museum. Popularly known as the “Double Statue of Mephistopheles & Margaretta”, this sculpture is carved out of a single log of Sycamore wood and has two distinct images on either side. The life-size sculpture depicts the haughty, evil Mephistopheles back to back with the gentle, meek looking, Margaretta. Mephistopheles is clad in a hooded cloak, heeled boots and has a long face with a cynical smile that will remind you of…

WHAT IS IT?  Kalamkari, a multistep process for dying textiles by applying each color with a stylus (kalam) or by using resists, is a specialty of the Deccan region of India. Although the region produced many types of dyed textiles for export to Europe and Southeast Asia between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, this hanging is one of a small group decorated with multiple figures, made only in the early 1600s. This particular cotton hanging was once attached to several…

WHAT IS IT? Naan wa Halwa (Bread and Sweets), is a an illustrated manuscript about the merits of the ascetic life. It was composed in Persian by the Sufi poet Muhammad Baha’al-Din ‘Amili (I547-I62I). This illustrated version of the text reveals the lively and fertile mixture of Mughal, Rajput, and Deccani painting traditions that co-existed in Aurangabad at the end of the seventeenth century. The manuscript consists of twenty-four folios. Four depict episodes from the poem (in this case, with considerable wit) inside richly painted borders;…

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