The history of South Asia is one of mighty empires, vast wealth and great diversity. The Oriental Museum’s South Asian collections reflect the rich and varied art and archaeology of the region.
Four of the world’s major religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism - originated in South Asia. Faiths from further afield - such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Zoroastrianism - have also helped to shape the rich and diverse culture of the region and reflect its historic position at the heart of global trade networks.
The 3,000 objects comprising the Oriental Museum’s South Asian collections reflect all these major religions. Highlights include our collections of beautifully carved Mughal jade and exquisite miniature paintings. In recent years, curators have also sought to expand the collections to encompass aspects of daily life, art and culture such as jewellery-making and costume. Today, the collections range in scope, from sculpture in stone and wood, to furniture, vibrant textiles, arms and armour, manuscripts and metalwork.
Sir John Marshall Collection of Archaeological Photography
The Oriental Museum holds a set of more than 5,000 photographs of archaeological sites and monuments from across South and Southeast Asia collected between 1902 and 1928 by Sir John Marshall, the Director General of Archaeology Survey of India.
This archive provides a key resource for those studying India’s architectural and archaeological heritage, offering unique images of many structures and features which have since been lost. The Museum is currently undertaking a project to digitise this important collection in collaboration with colleagues at Durham University’s UNESCO Chair and a range of international partners.
You can view the online exhibition ‘Taxila in Focus: 100 years since Marshall’, in English, or Urdu.
Indian miniature painting of Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, ruler of Jaipur 1779 – 1803