We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.


New gallery for Himalayas, South Asia and Southeast Asia

(13 February 2015)

In February 2015 the Oriental Museum opened a brand new gallery devoted to the museum’s Himalayan, Indian and Southeast Asian collections

Occupying a whole floor of the museum, the completely refurbished gallery will feature a dazzling array of objects from a Tibetan Buddhist skull cup to exquisitely carved Indian jades and a headhunting sword from Borneo. The objects on display range in date from ancient Indus valley ceramics dating back to 2,500 BC to modern safety helmet decorated with Islamic motifs by its owner in Indonesia.


The creation of the gallery has been the culmination of 18 months intensive research into the museum’s collections. Curators at the museum have reexamined thousands of objects and re-evaluated their importance with the assistance of members of local South Asian and Southeast Asian communities. 


Museum curator, Craig Barclay said, ‘One of the most exciting aspects of this project has been the opportunity to work with local people to understand improve our understanding of the objects in our care that relate to their cultures and faiths. We are particularly grateful to members of the local Sikh and Hindu communities who have given so much of their time. We have also benefited from the input of Durham University students from right across South and Southeast Asia and university academics working in the region.’


The gallery has been named the Roberts Gallery in honour of Dr and Mrs JT Roberts from Northumberland who donated a significant collection of 20th century Southeast Asian art to the museum in the 1990s. The refurbishment of the gallery has been made possible with the generous support of the Arts Council and the DCMS/Wolfson Foundation Museum and Galleries Improvement Fund.