All Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had to do to savour Indian culture, after a meeting with his Indian counterpart, Sushma Swaraj on Sunday, was step across the road. Following a three-hour meeting with the Indian delegation at the Jawaharlal Nehru Bhavan on Janpath, Wang took time off, crossed the road and visited the National museum.
Wang, who expressed his desire to see Indian artifacts and antiquities, reached the National Museum at 1, Janpath around 2 pm on Sunday and stayed there for about 45 minutes. Dr Vijay Mathur, Curator and Head of Education and Paintings department, showed Yi around the various galleries inside the museum.
“He first went to see the statue of the Dancing Girl from the Mohenjodaro period. He also expressed interest in Harappan artifacts and Amravati sculptures displayed in our Harappan gallery, one of the richest collections of the museum,” Mathur told Newsline.
The Chinese Foreign Minister then saw the Shunga sculptures dating back to 2nd century BC, which depict elephants carrying the relics of Lord Buddha. Yi also expressed deep interest in the Buddha statues from the Gandhara period.
“He was quite fascinated by the statue of Ganga-Yamuna from the Gupta period, which dates back to 5th century AD,” Mathur said. The terracotta statue is an ode to the female form and was reportedly recovered in an excavation from Ahichchhatra, the ancient capital of northern Panchala — one of the provinces that played a vital role in the Mahabharata. The sculpture is said to be the part of a Shiva temple.
He also saw Ramayan artefacts that were housed in Gupta gallery.
Sources in the National Museum said Wang showed great interest in visiting the Buddhist Gallery. “He was very interested in the antiquities from the Buddha period. He even asked questions related to the relics depicting scenes from the life and times of Lord Buddha from 5th century BC.”
According to Mathur, Wang was also very impressed with the Decorative Arts section housing the ivory works. “He appreciated the efforts of National Museum and lauded our rich collection. He was very impressed by our maintenance of each piece,” Mathur said.