Mohatta Palace Museum

Karachi's Cultural Centre

By Mohatta Palace Museum

Mohatta Palace Museum

Mohatta Palace Museum facadeMohatta Palace Museum

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.

View from the roof of the MuseumMohatta Palace Museum

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 from facadeMohatta Palace Museum

Detail of parapet on north facade.

Architectural detail, From the collection of: Mohatta Palace Museum
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Architectural detail of a lotus flower in the main facade of the Mohatta Palace building.

Architectural detail of floral decoration on the main facade, From the collection of: Mohatta Palace Museum
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This is a zoom of the design of floral decoration on the main facade in Mohatta Palace building.

Mohatta Palace Museum - architectural detail of a lotus on the main facade, From the collection of: Mohatta Palace Museum
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A detail of a lotus flower on the main facade of the Mohatta Palace building.

Design at Mohatta Palace Museum - architectural detail, From the collection of: Mohatta Palace Museum
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Detail of one of the peacock designs at the Mohatta Palace Museum.

Detail of architectural embellishmentMohatta Palace Museum

A detailed view of architectural embellishment at Mohatta Palace building

Detail of windows by Agha Ahmed HussainMohatta Palace Museum

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.

Detail of barsati, From the collection of: Mohatta Palace Museum
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The barsati on the roof

Stained glass windows, From the collection of: Mohatta Palace Museum
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The Holy Man by Abdur Rehman ChughtaiMohatta Palace Museum

Mohatta Palace Museum's Permanent Collection

Courtiers with baskets and serpents over their left shouldersMohatta Palace Museum

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.

Woman with pigeon (1981) by Jamil NaqshMohatta Palace Museum

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

Woman with pigeon, 1981

Untitled (1983) by Jamil NaqshMohatta Palace Museum

Jamil Naqsh, Untitled, 1983

Allegory: The Last Revelation (Part 1) (1968) by SadequainMohatta Palace Museum

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

Allegory: The Last Revelation (Part 2) (1968) by SadeqainMohatta Palace Museum

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

The Holy Man by Abdur Rehman ChughtaiMohatta Palace Museum

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

Detail of 'The Roman Soldier'Mohatta Palace Museum

Sculptures

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.

Cherub sculpture, From the collection of: Mohatta Palace Museum
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Roman soldier, From the collection of: Mohatta Palace Museum
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Detail of memorial presented to Queen Victoria, Unknown, From the collection of: Mohatta Palace Museum
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Detail of memorial to Queen Victoria, Unknown, From the collection of: Mohatta Palace Museum
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Bronze lion by UnknownMohatta Palace Museum

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.)

Detail of 'The Roman Soldier', From the collection of: Mohatta Palace Museum
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Child's garment (angrakha)Mohatta Palace Museum

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.

Woman's shift (pashk)Mohatta Palace Museum

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.

Gun beltMohatta Palace Museum

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.

Woman's capMohatta Palace Museum

A cap from the Hunza Valley, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Material: Cotton embroidered with silk.

Bridegroom's scarf or sash (bokano)Mohatta Palace Museum

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.

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