Friday, July 27, 2007

Masterpieces of Ganges delta. Collections from the Bangladesh museums

Masterpieces of Ganges delta. Collections from the Bangladesh museums
Musée des arts asiatiques Guimet

Bangladesh possesses an immensely important cultural heritage, this arising from the fact that the eastern half of Bengal has been one of the cultural richest regions of the Indian world; a vision far from the catastrophic one that the western world often tends to favour. The region is associated with the art of the Pala and Sena dynasties (8th – 13th century). Archaeological study has however revealed vestiges that are more ancient like the Mahasthan site which stands on what used to be Pundravardhana, and goes back to the Maurya and Sunga periods (3rd – 1st century BC). It has also revealed vestiges from the Gupta period (4th – 6th century). Pundravardhana-Mahasthan is, to this day, the oldest Indian city known to be in the east. But Bangladesh also harbours the oldest Buddhist monastery of the Indian world, Paharpur, which has now been listed on the UNESCO's list of protected monuments. Sculptures of a impressive dimension have been recently unearthed: a bronze Buddha measuring 1,3 metres in Paharpur in 1982, a Gupta Buddha (from Sarnath) sculpted on both sides at Mahasthan in 1992, a bronze Vajrasattva, 1,40 metres in height, at Mainamati in 1995, and finally an Avalokitesvara found on the same site of the same material and size. These pieces have rarely been published and will be leaving Bangladesh for the first time for the exhibition. To this one must add the fact that Bangladesh has a Muslim majority as compared to the Indian west Bengal, and consequently the Islamic heritage is original and of special interest.
The objective of this exhibition is to show for the first time outside of Bangladesh, the unbelievably rich and complex heritage of this country. Benefiting from recent archaeological research helps us to show works from the Maurya period and go on until the 19th century. And thus we will retrace history whilst emphasising on a certain number of major sites. As a matter of fact, one of the characteristics of this heritage is that a lot of the pieces are well documented and enable us to situate the same in their precise historical and artistic context. The four great religions, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Islam that determine the history of Bangladesh will be duly represented.
The lenders are all government institutions:
  The Bangladesh National Museum at Dhaka, under the Ministry of Culture
  The site museums under the directorate of Archaeology and thus the Ministry of Culture.
  Mahasthan Archaeological Museum
  Mainamati Archaeological Museum
  Paharpur Archaeological Museum
The Varendra Research Museum at Rajshahi, under the University of Rajshahi and thus depending on the Ministry of National Education, it is the oldest museum in Bangladesh.

Access :
6, place d'Iéna, 75116 Paris
M° Trocadéro, M° Iéna
How to book

Exhibitions full price: 7€, reduced price : 5€

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