UK Museums 'celebrating Ganesha' through exhibitions

Friday 06th May 2016 05:08 EDT

The British Museum has developed an online exhibition “Celebrating Ganesha” with Google Cultural Institute (GCI). On the other hand, the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle in County Durham in North East England is also having a “Celebrating Ganesha” exhibition from May 21 to September 18.

The online exhibitionby the British Museum has a tag line “Explore the imagery and symbolism associated with Ganesha and gain an insight into some of the most popular stories surrounding him”.

It shows a Ganesha sculpture (1200AD), Ganesha painting (1600AD), Ganesha on a swing painting (1800AD, Maharashtra), Ganesha in procession painting (1780-1820AD, Tanjore style), Ganesha on his rat mount painting (1800AD)—all from British Museum, and a video on "The making and worship of Ganesha statues in Maharashtra".

It explains about the background of "Why does Ganesha ride a rat?", Ganesha's elephant head and Ganesha’s broken tusk.

The British Museum headquartered in London and founded in 1753AD, is claimed to be the first national public museum in the world. It now comprises over 8 million objects spanning the history of the world's cultures: from the stone tools of early man to twentieth century prints.

The GCI claims to bring “together millions of artifacts from multiple partners, with the stories that bring them to life, in a virtual museum”.

At the exhibition in Bowes Museum the main object is a 13th century 119 centimeters tall schist sculpture of Lord Ganesha carved in Odisha, which depicts many of its major attributes, showing him holding a bowl of his favorite sweets. It will be displayed alongside complimentary Gouache paintings and woodcut prints that depict Lord Ganesha in traditional scenes.

As reports suggest, this exhibition is divided into three themes: key beliefs of Hinduism, Hindu worship and Lord Ganesha. It will also include interactives for children, music, films, traditional Indian clothing, items for children to try on, rangoli patterns, a story area, craft table and puja tray holding seven items—a bell, lamp, incense holder and incense, water container and spoon, powder container, blessed food and a statue. There will also be a Hindu shrine, illustrating how one might be set up in the home.

The Bowes Museum, opened in 1892AD, whose aim is "to foster a deeper understanding of art and culture", is known for its extensive collections of ceramics and the "Silver Swan". 

Commending Bowes Museum for showcasing Lord Ganesha in sculpture, paintings and prints; Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada said that art had a long and rich tradition in Hinduism and ancient Sanskrit literature talked about religious paintings of deities on wood or cloth. Commending BM and GCI for this joint venture in a statement he also urged world museums and multinational technology companies to undertake projects to explore the rich philosophical thought and wisdom offered by Hinduism and Hindu scriptures.

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