Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai - Part 2

Sunday, June 19, 2016

This will be the 2nd post on Dr. Baudaji Lad Museum, the earlier post explored mainly the structure and aesthetics of the Museum, this will post will share a little of the displayed art and sculpture. The Museum has been meticulously restored by INTACH, and reinstated to its current glory, made possible by the public private partneship, a tripartite agreement was signed between the Municipal Corporation (MCGM), the Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation which funded the restoration, and INTACH which executed it and in February 2003, the Museum Trust was established and work began, and continued for 5 intensive years.
"INTACH’s approach to the restoration of the building was careful and considered. Intensive research and preparatory work went into putting the project concept together before drawing up the restoration and revitalisation plan."
The point of the restoration and the point of art is celebrating the beautiful. And this celebration is incomplete without engagement,with everyone. I had visited the museum on a Tuesday morning, and it was extremely heartening to watch people from all walks of life taking in the museum.  The top floor of the Museum has an extensive representation of the different communities that came together lived and thrived in Mumbai. Its a great reminder of this city's cosmopolitan roots and a celebration its of diversity
 "Most of the museum objects were in an extremely neglected and damaged condition. They had fungus and were damaged from poor handling and incorrect conservation work. Approximately four thousand objects have been conserved to date by INTACH’s expert conservators. Each object is assessed for damage. It is photographed before, during and after the process. The restoration of each artefact was a cause for celebration."
As a nod towards all things Indian and traditional, a large brass statue of Lord Ganesh or Ganpathy was right at the entrance right next to the gorgeously carved wooden screen.

 These stone patters totally had my attention. "The intricate carving on this soapstone dish plate from Agra, blends Islamic geometric design with European foliage patterns. The softness of soapstone permits delicate treatment in design and workmanship."

A marble statue of David Sassoon by whose enterprise Sassoon Docks at Colaba in the city were built. Rani Bagh (Jijamata Udyann) was also his property and was donated to the Mumbai Municipal Corporation for the construction of the Albert Museum, designed by the most prominent architect of the time. It is this Museum which is today's  Dr.Bhau Daji Lad Museum.

The extensive research unfolded many layers of history. The primary curatorial objective was to tell the story of this extraordinary city from a multitude of perspectives.

 I found these precious bengal styled, tiny, palm sized ceramic statues, meet Goddess Lakshmi  - did you see that small owl tucked next to her feet on a conch?
 And this here is Goddess Saraswati, sans her Veena, but with books and mandatory swan.
 There is one entire shelf dedicated to the 10 avatars of Vishnu, of which I found Lord Ram and funnily even Krishna, rather pensive.


This vase demonstrates a blend of western form and design inspired by a traditional Indian motif, the peacock feather. This pottery was much admired and popular at international exhibitions.

Leaving you with the gorgeous Garuda, the eagle, Lord Krishna's chosen vehicle. He kneels majestically at the exit. Is that a wooden beak, fixed on a stone statue only to be broken again? A reminder that restoration and maintenance of anything in our lives has to be a constant en-devour. If its precious, it must be cared for and tended to, daily.

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