The collection of antiquities includes miniature bronzes or metal sculptures from Maharashtra and Gujarat, especially from the Dang region near Nashik, South Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa and the Malabar coast; as well as South Indian folk, classical-style objects, and Dhokra-style objects from Odisha and the Bastar area of Madhya Pradesh. Most of these were used for ritual worship and are characterised by their exquisite beauty.
At the same time, the metal-casting process continued to be used for creating articles of daily use, such as utensils for cooking, eating and drinking. Present-day tribal communities also use the ‘lost-wax’ process for their artistic expression, and there is also a large collection of folk and tribal ornaments from various regions.
Religion has a very important role in the formation of the identity of each society. It is indeed the shell of cultural formation, and the individuals in a society are born into them. It is through these customs and practices that social solidarity thrives, as pre-existing cultural rules determine our ideas and behaviour through socialisation. Societies are made up of structures of cultural rules, established beliefs and practices to which their members are expected to conform. Each social structure has unique customs and practices as well as systems of beliefs, and folk arts play a crucial part in the timely reforms and establishing of these.
Elephants, savats dhenu, bull, boars, dogs, tortoises, cats etc.
Mostly miscellaneous types of tribal and folk gods and goddesses’ idols from various parts of the country
More than 70 varieties of Lord Ganesha, varieties of Shiva Panchayatan, Kaliamardan, Panchmukhi Hanuman, Shivalinga Laddoo Gopal, Shivalings, Mahalakshmi, Annapurna, Sri Devi, Bhudevi, Durga, Jain Tirthankar, Muralidhar and Khandoba (a folk deity from Maharashtra)
Different types of masks of Khandoba, Jivati, varieties of toe rings, nupur and lamps
Such a large variety of folk material is rarely found in any museum or private collection of the world. Thus, this is regarded as a unique collection that brings out its ethnological content to the fore. Furthermore, no renowned scholar has studied these items closely.
The collection of miniature seals and sealing in the collection is extremely interesting, not just aesthetically beautiful but also of great importance from an archaeological point of view. Most of them are inscribed in various ancient scripts, and the collection features various types of miniature tablets in different metals and stones such as ivory, bone, wood, silver, iron etc. This collection is completely unique, unseen and unpublished so far.
The collection of wooden items is made up of pieces of building architecture and household objects, fragments of decorative friezes, geometrical designs, gods and goddesses etc.
Terracottas in smaller sizes are also very interesting and abundant, particularly from Bengal (Chandraketugarh), Odisha, Kosambi and other regions. They are precious and require further research to fully comprehend their importance. A large number of archaeological miniature figurines in stone and semi-precious stones, ivory and other metals, as well as ritual objects, are fascinating.