| New Delhi |
October 26, 2020 9:40:34 pm
The miniature titled Mughal Emperor Shahjahan in the Marriage Procession of his Eldest Son Dara Shikoh (1740-50 AD) is one of the celebrated exhibits in the National Museum collection. While several scholars have studied it, now its details are available on the virtual platform of Google Arts & Culture, where each element of the work can be magnified and analysed — from the jewels of the protagonist to the weaponry of the entourage. In a virtual address, Prahlad Singh Patel, Minister for Culture and Tourism, stated how at a time like this as we battle Covid, these miniatures too can inspire. “Miniatures are an important tradition of Indian art, they tell the story of our rich past, our great epics, society and culture,” said Patel.
The project titled “Life in Miniature” features over 1,000 works from the National Museum that has one of the largest collections of miniatures in India. Active since October 22, the tool makes for a more informed viewing of the miniatures. “It allows viewers to have a much more immersive experience,” says Amit Sood, director of Google Arts & Culture on a video call from London. He notes how over the last year a team of researchers and art experts have studied each work. “It’s an underestimated craft form. In those times, these (miniatures) were cutting-edge technology and what we are trying to do is bridge the gap between technology, art and culture,” says Sood.
Divided into themes, such as ‘Love’, ‘Power’ and ‘Nature’, the miniatures – from the Ramayana to Royal Saga and Pahari style paintings, among others – can also be browsed according to elements and colours. While a detailed text accompanies each work, audio guides by curators are also available for some works and a pocket gallery provides an AR walk-through of a museum with miniatures on display. A digital colouring book has also been introduced.
At present, visitors can view several celebrated works, including Garuda pays homage after liberating Rama and Lakshmana from Nag-pash and Lady Holding a Sparkler. Sood says that other works from the museum collection might be added.
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