Art and Craft museum is
primarily addressed to the craftsmen who have been brought into a
close and integral relationship with the museum. Their visits to the
museum provide them opportunities to meet their new urban patrons.
Thus a visit to art and craft museum of New Delhi is on top on your
Shopping in Delhi
¤ Pragati Maidan
New Delhi 110001.
Open 1000-1730hrs; Closed: Monday
Entry free; Guided tours for groups arranged upon prior request.
¤ Main Attractions
The institution of the museum, aimed at housing objects of antiquity
and curiosity, is of western origin. Indians themselves did not have a
tradition of setting up museums of fragmented sculptures, rusted
swords and out-of-context paintings. Broken images were immersed in
holy water, worn out metal objects were melted down to cast new ones,
and terracotta votive objects were left to decay and merge with the
very earth from which they were created.
The core collection of the Crafts Museum was actually put together to
serve as reference material for the craftsmen who were increasingly
losing touch with their own traditions in terms of materials,
techniques, designs and aesthetics of their arts and crafts due to the
sudden changes caused by modern industrialization. Here the craftsman
feels free to confine to his tradition or to innovate in response to
his new contemporary environment.
¤ Collection of Unique Item of Tribal Arts
The large permanent collection of 20,000 items of folk and tribal
arts, crafts and textiles is housed in a concrete, but almost invisible
building. Charles Correa, the architect, had a challenge before him
on the one hand to provide a pucca building for safe preservation and
display of the rare art objects, but on the other, not to let the
building be so imposing that it would belittle the humbler objects
collected from village homes. The scale and appearance of the building
had to be such that it would not attempt to upstage its ancient
neighbour, the Purana Qila on the one side and the Village Complex of
the Museum on the other.
Consequently the low-lying building has old carved wooden doors and
windows from Gujarat and Rajasthan, central courtyards having champa
trees, tulsi shrines and a monumental temple-car coexist in
this modern building not as revivalist ethnic chic
exercise, but as a contemporary juxtaposition of past traditions in a
modern building meant for a modern Indian Crafts Museum.
¤ Other Marvelous Artifacts
The museums collection, built over a period of thirty years,
comprises bronze images; lamps and incense burners; ritual
accessories; utensils and other items of everyday use; wood and stone
carvings; papier mache; ivories, dolls, toys, puppets and masks;
jewellery; decorative metalware including bidri work;
paintings; terracotta; cane and bamboo work and a large number of
textiles, from different regions of India.
Galleries of folk and tribal arts and crafts, aristocratic objects,
and that of traditional Indian textiles, display selected objects
within these categories which are unavoidably overlapping as the
culture itself. Moreover, there is a Visual Store for
reference, comprising about 15,000 objects which can be used by
scholars, designers, craftsmen and interested public for study and
research. While brief captions provide basic information about the
displayed objects, for further information the Museums catalogue
could be consulted.
The Crafts Museum Shop on the premises sells books, picture-postcards
and a whole range of exquisite contemporary handicrafts. The objective
of the shop is to sell original creations of the finest Indian
craftspersons and not to market mechanically replicated souvenir.
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