Sunday, January 22, 2012

"Indian Jewelry" exhibtion in Museum Volkenkunde, Leiden (NL)

A recent visit to the Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden, offered a nice surprise in the form of a small exhibit about "Contemporary Indian Jewelry".  The museum is going under renovation and it is due to re-open in fal 2012, therefore the collections/exhibitions on display and amount od spaces open to public are limited.

The exhibit is the part of the museum currently open to public, in the main room dedicated to Asia but in a small space, which is not a problem to offer some substanctial content about the subject.  It is curated by Saskia Konniger, who is researching for the museum about Indian traditions, and has conceived the show after two field trips to several regions in India: Rajasthan (Bikaner and Jaipur) to study the work of goldsmiths. After the trips, her findings has incoporated some new pieces into the museum's collection.

general view of the exhibition
I found the exhibit very appealing, condensed and well presented both in terms of pieces and layout, though the cases where the pieces were shown had too many reflects and the quality of craftmanship was at times difficult to be appreciated.

Panels and labels and auviovisuals were instructive, as well as the wall covered by photos and images from (we must guess) the researcher's travels together with and local iconography.  That was a touch of artistic connection with the pieces shown that converged with the anthropological vision, as an inmersion into some aspects of Indian culture.

The catalogue contains good visual documentation, but (as informed from the museum's desk) it has only been published in Dutch, which from a quick reading is a pit,y for it surely contains valuable information that would allow to better understand the content of the exhibition.

Images of some of the pieces on display:

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