If you spent a minute with each piece in the collection at the National Museum in Delhi, it would take three years, nine months and 23 days to view all of them.
The authorities have thus launched a yellow-book, listing the highlights from over two lakh works of traditional arts — including sculptures, miniature paintings, coins, decorative arts, textiles, manuscripts, arms and armour — that are displayed at the museum.
Titled ‘The museum in 90 minutes’, the booklet is given to visitors free of cost. It gives the names, maps and short descriptions of 25 most unique pieces.
“The booklet was launched last month… We prepared a list of art works in consultation with the curators and included them in the book so that visitors, who have little time, can see our best, most unique works,” Jayati, head of Outreach department at National Museum, told Newsline.
At least three art works listed in the booklet are from the Harappan civilisation gallery, including the townplan of Dholavira, an archaeological site in Gujarat. Five other listed art works are from the Mauryan, Kushan and Gupta periods.
“One of the most interesting pieces on the list is a sculpture of Ganga, which was built between the 4th and 6th centuries. Ganga is holding a pot of water, standing on the mythical makara — a creature with the body of a crocodile and tail of a fish. To her right stands Yamuna on a turtle. Similarly, a red sandstone figure of Lord Vishnu crafted in Mathura during the Gupta period is another interesting highlight,” an official at the museum said.
Romanian tourist Georghe Ionut (29), who is visiting India with his wife Dana, told Newsline that the National Museum is one of the most interesting places he has visited so far.
“The place is so rich in history. We were totally confused when we came in, but then, we got this book and reading through it has actually helped us see some really amazing things stored here. My favourite piece was the carved tusk that tells the life story of Buddha,” Ionut said.
Dana, who teaches history at a school in Bucharest, though liked Rama darbar — a Tanjore-style cloth painting from Tamil Nadu — the best.