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Art From Us MUSEUM GUIDE : Harvard Art Museums : Room 2590

Harvard Art Museums – Room 2590

Art From Us, Museum Guide #880

Art From Us presents a must-see Museum Guide daily, where we showcase specific artworks in specific museums – from across the globe. Today, for Art From Us, Museum Guide #880 the spotlight is on the Harvard Art Museums’ Room 2590. Showcasing a collection of South Asia in the Medieval and Early Modern Eras.

The three works in focus are :

Architectural Relief with Figures and Animals, 10th century
Standing Rama Wearing High Headdress and Dhoti, 13th century
Shield with Scenes of Hunting Lions, c. 1800

According to the digital catalogue of the Harvard Art Museums :

“The rise of the Mughal dynasty (1526–1857) eventually brought most of India under the control of a single Muslim polity with a highly sophisticated court culture. During the seventeenth century, Mughal art developed a refined aesthetic, blending Persian, Indian, and European elements and techniques. It also sparked an artistic renaissance at Hindu courts in Rajasthan and the Punjab Hills.”

Evidence of the cultural melange spoken of above is present in Room 2590 of the Harvard Art Museums. The objects and artefacts housed in this gallery are inspired from  many different cultures. While the styles and techniques may be those of Islamic art, some of the motifs are Indian, specifically drawn from Hinduism. As a whole, the gallery represents a time of cultural blending, when trade flourished and countries were conquered and taken over by foreign rulers, who brought with them their own customs and traditions. So, in this room, we see the impact of these hybridised cultures on the arts and crafts industry in South Asia.

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