1927 - 2015

Mohatta Palace Museum

Mohatta Palace Museum

Karachi's Cultural Centre

Set on a large estate of approximately 12000 square yards, the imposing building known as the Mohatta Palace was built in 1927 as the seaside home of Rai Bahadur Seth Shivratan Mohatta, a rich Marwari businessman in Karachi.The superior construction of this building and the quality of materials used are a testament not only to the love and care lavished on this palatial home, but also to the fact that no expenses were spared in the building of this beautiful structure.

Built in a Mughal revival style with a combination of locally available yellow Gizri stone and the striking pink Jodhpur stone, the architect commissioned for the palace, Ahmed Hussein Agha, one of the first Muslim architects of India, sought to recreate here the Anglo Mughal palaces of the Rajput princes.

Its distinct style of construction is a combination of domes, spandrels, balustrades, louvered shutters and railings. The Mohatta Palace would prove to be the coup de maitre of Agha’s professional career.

Detail of parapet on north facade.

Architectural detail of a lotus flower in the main facade of the Mohatta Palace building.

This is a zoom of the design of floral decoration on the main facade in Mohatta Palace building.

A detail of a lotus flower on the main facade of the Mohatta Palace building.

Detail of one of the peacock designs at the Mohatta Palace Museum.

A detailed view of architectural embellishment at Mohatta Palace building

Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto supported the setting up of a museum of the arts of Pakistan in the palace and it was formally purchased for the Mohatta Palace Museum Trust in 1995.

Out of use for over a decade, the building was in need of major restoration work, which involved cleaning, repairs and internal and external renovations.

The first two phases of the restoration program were successfully completed in August 1999 and the Museum opened its doors to the public on 15th September 1999.

The barsati on the roof

Mohatta Palace Museum's Permanent Collection

This remarkable sculpture from 1st Century CE, featuring courtiers with baskets and serpents over their left shoulders, was gifted to the Museum by Mr. and Mrs. Isky Ispahani.

Jamil Naqsh's watercolours are also a prominent part of the Museum's collection.

Woman with pigeon, 1981

Jamil Naqsh, Untitled, 1983

Sadequain was a charismatic public figure, the most written about painter in the Pakistani press. Prodigiously prolific, he had amazing creative energy; he produced thousands of paintings and calligraphies, as well as large murals in public buildings.

Sadequain, Allegory: The Last Revelation (Part 1), 1968, Oil on Canvas

Sadequain, Allegory: The Last Revelation (Part 2), 1968, Oil on Canvas

The Holy Man is a mid-20th century engraving by Abdur Rehman Chughtai.

The museum's bronzes come from the Victoria Memorial placed in the Frere Gardens prior to Partition. The memorial includes her consort King Edward, along with representations of Brittania, Justice and Equality. Apart from this complex statue there is a British Soldier, four cherubs (most probably around the fountain in the garden) and a nobleman in an elaborate waistcoat. A pair of bronze lions adds to the majesty of the memorial.

This is one of the pair of bronze lions that were part of the Victoria memorial sculpture. It was later displayed at the entrance of the botanical and zoological gardens (also known as Gandhi Gardens.)

Mohatta Palace Museum's Textile Collection
The textiles on display are drawn from the personal collection of Nasreen Askari, current Director of the Mohatta Palace Museum. They range from costume and dress accessories, to shawls rugs and animal adornments from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab Sindh and Baluchistan.

This woman's shift is attributed to Kalat, Baluchistan, and is from the late 19th Century.

It is made from silk, and is embroidered with silk floss and gold wrapped thread braid.

This gunbelt is from Dera Bugti in Balochistan, and was gifted to the Museum by Nawab Akbar Khan Bughti.

It is made with leather and silk, and is decorated with mirror-work.

A cap from the Hunza Valley, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Material: Cotton embroidered with silk.

This scarf is from the Meghwar community of Mithi, Tharparkar, Sindh, and dates to the early 20th Century.

It is made from cotton, is embroidered with silk, and is decorated with mirrors.

Mohatta Palace Museum
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