Situated on the famous Crescent Site near the Gateway of India in Mumbai is the landmark heritage building that houses the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, formerly known as the Prince of Wales Museum of Western India. It is one of the most exquisite examples of the Indo-Saracenic architectural style for which the architect, George Wittet, is well known.
Designed in 1909, it filled the need for a quality museum in western India, particularly to house artifacts excavated by Henry Cousens, a famous archeologist and Superintendent of Archaeological Survey at the time, who concentrated his work on sites in western India belonging to the early Gupta period.
Today the collection includes decorative arts, textiles, jade, wood and ivory, among other mediums, which provide a glimpse of the inherent skills of the Indian craftsmen of the 18th and 19th centuries. The Nepal and Tibet collection showcases essential features of Tantric Buddhism, including the 16th century image of Sron-Tsan-Gampo, who is known to have established Buddhism in Tibet.
Contributions by B.V. Shetti and Manisha Nene.
About the Author
Kalpana Desai is the former director of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya. She has published her work on the origin and evolution of the iconography of Vishnu and has contributed in articles on diverse subjects like Indo-Chinese textiles and images and techniques of navigation.