50 AD - 2016

Ananya

Indian Museum, Kolkata

A tribute to Women on the occasion of the International Women's Day 

Ananya
The exhibition ANANYA celebrates the significant role women have been playing in various fields from the remote past. In order to give it a diachronic perspective, the Indian Museum has used specimens from its different collections – Art, Anthropology and Numismatic to make the exhibition an integrated one.This exhibition is a modest endeavour to celebrate the International Women’s day and to pay a tribute to women – sovereign and subaltern – to their multifaceted creativities.
Coinage
Coinage was one of the best media of propagating the ruling authority of the time. In some of the early coins the association of the queen along with the king, such as Queen Kumaradevi with king Chandragupta I (4th century A.D.) in the gold coins could be examples of the powerful role with queens wielded. Such powerful role could also be inferred from the Mughal period silver coins with the joint names of Jahangir and Nurjahan. India also had powerful women rulers who had issued coins in their names. These include the copper coins of Didda (980-1003 A.D.), the Kashmir Queen of the Utpala Dynasty, silver and copper coins by Sultana Raziya (1236-1239 A.D.), the silver and copper coins struck by the Begums of Bhopal – Qudsia Begum (1819-1837 A.D.), Sikandar Begum (1847-1868 A.D.) -  during  the 19th century. In Assam, Phulesvari alias Pramathesvari and Ambika – two queens of Siva Simha (1714-1744 A.D.) – also issued silver coins in their own names. 

Kumaradevi as Depicted
King offering ring to his consort. Goddess seated on a couchant lion, with legend Lichchhavayah in Brahmi.

Raziya ruler of Delhi
Stylized bull with the name of Samantadeva in Nagari; Reverse shows name of Raziya in Arabic inside a rayed circle.

Diddha, queen of Kashmir, with Kshemagupta

Effigy of a goddess with names of Didda and Kshema in Brahmi; Reverse shows king with letter gu.

Diddha, queen of Kashmir
Effigy of a goddess and name of the queen in Brahmi; Reverse shows king with legend in Brahmi.

Nurjahan with Jahangir
Name and title of Nurjahan Begum; Date 1034 A.H. and mint name Lahore in Persian.

Phulesvari (died in 1731 A.D.), queen of Siva Simha of Assam
Names of queen Phulesvari Devi and king Siva Simha in Sanskrit: Devotion to Hara Gauri with date-Saka 1646.

Ambika (died in 1731 A.D.), queen of Siva Simha of Assam
Names of Ambika Devi and Siva Simha in Sanskrit; Devotion to Hara-Gauri with date Saka 1657 and regnal year 21.

Yogamati, ruler of Pathan, with her son Loka Prakasa
Sword with wreath and name of king Loka Prakasa; Name Sri Yogamati Devi and date 827 N.S.

Qudsia Begum, queen of Bhopal
Name of Muhammad Akbar Badshah with date 12 [3-A.H.]: Mint name Daulatgarh and regnal year 13.

Sikandar Begum, ruler of Bhopal
Mint name Bhopal; date 1276 A.H. Denomination One Anna

Painting
Painting is another field where women have made their mark. Paintings of the women artists – Mrs. Sunayani Devi and Sukhalata Rao have been displayed from the collection of the Art section. Mrs. Sunayani Devi (1875-1962) was born in the famous Tagore family of Jorasanko, Kolkata, niece of poet Rabindranath Tagore. Her two elder brothers – Abanindranath Tagore and Gaganendranath Tagore were the eminent artists of the Bengal school. She was a home maker. Between 1920 -1921 her art work gained public attention, mainly the paintings based on Radha-Krishna theme. In the year 1927, her paintings were selected in the Women International Art Club in London.                 Sukhalata Roa (1886-1969) was the eldest daughter of Upendrakishore Roychowdhury. Born in Kolkata, she studied in Brahmo Balika Shikshalaya and Bethune College, Kolkata. She married an Oriya physician Dr. Jayanta Rao and lived in Cuttack. She established ‘Shishu O Matri Mangal’ and ‘Oriya Nari Seva Sangha’. She was a remarkable artist in water colour.

Krishna consorting Radha in a guise of a gopi
The scene relates Krishna became a gopi for Radha from Gita Govinda of Jaydeva. The artist illustrates the scene very interestingly. Krishna bedecked himself as female. He is wearing golden ornaments and pink sari with green border. The dark complexion gopi is very close gesture conversing with Radha. Brilliant colours, the romantic presentation and the figures are typical of the Neo Bengal School Style of 20th century. According to the Gita Govinda, where Krishna said to the Sakhi: "Please tell Radha that I am still with her. The lotuses that bloom in the Yamuna have been coloured by me and the yellow blossoms on the mango tree have opened because of my love and clang of peacocks and the clouds of Shravan pour rain. They do so because of my love and when two birds sing to each other they speak of my love for her"- Kanha Priya.

Painting
Contemporary Painting depicting - Radha by Sunayani Devi (Side profile of a lady).

Painting
Contemporary painting depicting - a coy-lady by Sunayani Devi.

Painting
Watercolour on paper by Sunayani Devi depicting Radha and Krisna standing side by side.

Painting
Water colour on paper by Smt. Sukhalata Rao depicting Sati.

Bronze busts
The bronze busts of diverse communities have been displayed from the collection of the Anthropology section. Mrs. Marguerite Milward, was a British lady, first visited India in the year 1926. She stayed at Santiniketan in 1929, as a guest of poet Rabindranath Tagore, Tagore requested her to teach sculpture to the students of Santiniketan. Fascinated by visiting a collection of African native heads in an exhibition in Paris, she came to India and made a similar collection of the different ethnic groups of India. She travelled remote areas all over India for completing these works from (1936-1939). Here, she met eminent anthropologists namely Dr. B.S. Guha of Indian Museum, Professor Verrier Elwin, Professor Hutton and others. Her sculptures were the combination of careful measurements with artistic enthusiasm.

Bust of a Lepcha female
Bust of a Lepcha female, made of bronze. The figure has plaited hair, hanging ear ornament and a necklace with a pendent. It seems that it is a bust of an middle aged lady. The Lepcha community lives in the Darjeeling and Kalimpong District of West Bengal and Sikkim.

Bust of a Kadar male
Bust of a Kadar male, made of bronze. The figure has thick curly hair, prominent cheek bones, broad and flat nose, prognathous mouth and thick lips. The bust is placed on a square wooden pedestal. The Kadar community lives in the Kerala state, India.

Bust of a Kadar female
Bust of a Kadar female, made of bronze. The figure has prognathous face. Hair bun is present at the back of the head, decorated with ornamental chain. Nose ornaments are present on the both sides of nose. A chain of small beads is present on the neck. The bust is placed on a cylindrical stone pedestal.The Kadar community lives in the Kerala state, India.

Bust of an Irula male
Bust of an Irula male, made of bronze.The figure has thick curly hair, prognathous face, flat nose and thick lips. The bust is placed on a square stone pedestal. The Irula community lives in Tamilnadu, India.

Bust of an Irula girl
Bust of an Irula girl, made of bronze.The figure has slightly prognathous face. A cloth seems to be tied on the back of the head. Flat nose and thick lips are the characteristics of the figure. A bunch of bead necklaces is present around the neck. The bust is placed on a square stone pedestal. The Irula community lives in Tamilnadu, India.

Bust of a Gond male
Bust of a Gond male, made of bronze. The figure has curly hair especially observable at the back, prominent eyebrow ridges and cheek bones, flat and broad nose and moustache. The bust is placed on a square wooden pedestal. The Gond community lives in the states of Madhya Pradesh, eastern Maharashtra (Vidarbha), Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Western Odisha.

Bust of a Gond female
Bust of a Gond female, made of bronze. The figure has a hair bun on the back of the head. Flat nose, thick lips are the characteristics of the bust. Different varieties of neck ornaments are present on the neck. The Gond community lives in the states of Madhya Pradesh, eastern Maharashtra (Vidarbha), Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Western Odisha.

Bust of a Maria Gond male
Bust of a Maria Gond male, made of bronze. The figure has a hair bun at the back of the head. A comb is present in the bun. The figure has ear ornaments in the ears. Prominent cheek bones and thick lips are present. The bust is placed on a square stone pedestal. The Maria Gond community lives in Chandrapur District and Gadchiroli District of Maharashtra State, and Bastar division of Chhattisgarh State.

Bust of an Abor male
Bust of an Abor male, made of bronze. The figure has mongoloid features, especially epicanthic fold in the eyes. A head gear is present on the head. Ear ornaments and many bead necklaces are present. The bust is placed on a square stone pedestal. The Abors lives in Arunachal Pradesh, India.

Bust of a Konyak Naga male
Bust of a Konyak Naga male, made of bronze. The figure has a headgear decorated with hornbill beaks and cane, hair is long. There are ear studs on two ears. The chin sports a goaty. Prominent collar bones are present. The Konyak Naga community lives in Nagaland, India.

Bust of a Mishmi female
Bust of a Mishmi female, made of bronze. The figure has Mongoloid features mainly epicanthic fold in the eyes. Hair is tied on one side of the head. Two large ear studs and a bead necklace worn around the neck are present. The bust is placed on a square stone (granite) pedestal. The Mishmi community lives in Arunachal Pradesh, India.

Bust of a Lhota Naga male
Bust of a Lhota Naga male, made of bronze. The figure has thick curly hair, prominent cheek bones and thick lips. The bust is placed on a square, stone pedestal.The Lotha Naga community lives in Nagaland, India.

Textile
The production of textile is the work of women of all communities of the North-East India. It involves works starting from seeding cotton, weaving in ‘back-strap’ loom to finer embroidery work having implication for their ethnic identities. ‘Risang’ – the bark cloth is both woven and worn by the women of Bonda community in Orissa.

"RISANG"/ Cloth
It is a cloth band, made of bark and cotton. It has red, blue and yellow vertical stripes. Two ends are provided with off-white coloured fringes, made of bark fibre. It is used by the women.

Shawl
It is a red coloured shawl, made of wool. The shawl is richly embroidered with multi coloured geometric designs. Both sides of the shawl have thin multi coloured borders. Each end of the shawl has a number of woolen fringes.

Skirt
It is a skirt, made of home-spun cotton. The skirt is of beige colour. The body of the skirt is decorated with red, black and white coloured lineal designs and red and black triangular designs. The skirt is decorated with a broad multi coloured border at each side of the shawl.

"KHUDE"/ Head band
It is an embroidered head band, black in colour. It has thin red stripes and a blue stripe in the middle of each side. The two ends of the head band have cotton fringes. It is worn by women.

"GALUK"/ Jacket
It is a black coloured sleeveless jacket, made of cotton. The jacket is decorated with a few patches of embroidery work with red, white and golden thread. It is used by the male.

"Telach"/ Shawl
It is a red cotton cloth having woven designs at two ends. The designs are made by yellow, blue, orange cotton thread. There are seven rows of floral as well as geometric designs. Human motifs sitting on elephants have also woven at the ends, of the body. Cotton fringes are present at the ends.

"GALE"/ Women's skirt
It is a piece of cotton cloth having red and dark blue stripes allover its body. One row of embroidered designs made by red, blue, white and yellow cotton thread is present vertically at the middle of the skirt. It is used by the female.

Skirt
It is a skirt, made of cotton. The skirt is decorated with blue and pink coloured geometric designs. The lower border of the skirt has multi coloured wavy designs. Both ends of the skirt have a number of cotton tassels or fringes.

Skirt
It is a traditional, black coloured skirt. The skirt is decorated with multi coloured linear designs at the middle. Each side of the skirt has a thin green and red coloured border. The two ends of the skirt have a number of cotton tassels or fringes.

Skirt
It is a red coloured skirt. The skirt is decorated with a white median band. Each side of the skirt has black coloured borders. Six thin black coloured linear designs are present on the red colour body of the skirt.

Warrior's cloth
It is black coloured wrapper having a white cloth stitched at the middle. The white cloth has painted human figures. A few stripes of brown colour are stitched at regular interval on the black base. It is worn by the Naga warriors.

Cloth
It is a cotton cloth having red stripes at regular interval. Black designed rows are also present at regular interval, parallel to red stripes. Duck feather designs are present at two ends. Four pieces of cloth are stitched to get the required length of the cloth.

Woman's cloth
It is a black cotton cloth with white stripes at the borders. A strip of cloth having embroidered geometric designs, is stitched in the middle of the cloth.

Indian Museum, Kolkata
Credits: Story

Sponsoring Institution: Indian Museum, Kolkata

Chief Co-Ordinator: Dr. Jayanta Sengupta

Exhibition prepared by:
Dr. Mita Chakrabarty
Dr. Nita Sengupta
Shri Tushar Nath Roychowdhury

Photographs by: Photography Unit

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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