An announcement at the opening of Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sanghralaya’s (CSMVS) new gallery last month by Neil MacGregor, Director of The British Museum, made history buffs sit up and take notice . The curator, who has previously brought world relics such as the Egyptian Mummy and the Cyrus Cylinder to the city, said he was working closely with the museum for a project that will tell the history of the world through 100 Indian objects.
“We will select one significant object from each Indian era. A relic doesn’t only tell the story of the its origin, but also of what was happening around the world during the same time,” said MacGregor at the event. The British art historian cited examples of objects such as vessels and coins from the Indus Valley civilisation and Ashoka’s empire. “For instance, we will examine the relics from the reign of King Ashoka and provide an insight into what was occurring simultaneously in other parts of the world. We want to allow the relics to take you across space and time,”he said.
The exhibition is inspired by a 100-part radio series written and presented by MacGregor in 2010 called A History of the World in 100 Objects that focussed on one object every episode. While that series included relics from across the world, this exhibition will focus on Indian artefacts.
The project is still in its nascent stage, said Director of CSMVS, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, adding that it will take two years to execute. “Like our other projects with the British Museum, this, too, is likely to be momentous for Indian art history,” he adds.