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India and South Asia

Four of the world’s major religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism - originated in South Asia; and Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Zoroastrianism have also helped to shape the rich and diverse culture of the region as they arrived along the important trade routes that cross the sub-continent. The history of the area is one of mighty empires, vast wealth and great diversity. This is reflected in the rich and varied art and archaeology of the region and in the collections held at the Oriental Museum.

The 3,000 objects comprising the Oriental Museum’s South Asian collections reflect all of the major religions that have shaped the region’s culture. They range in scope from sculpture in stone to furniture, textiles, arms and armour, manuscripts and paintings. Of particular significance are an exquisite group of miniature paintings and a fine collection of Mughal jade.

In addition, the Museum holds a set of nearly 5,000 photographs of archaeological sites and monuments collected between 1902 and 1923 by Sir John Marshall, Director General of Archaeology in India. This archive provides an important resource for those studying India’s architectural and archaeological heritage, offering unique images of many structures and features which have since been lost. The Museum is currently undertaking a project to digitise this important collection.

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