Sir Christopher Ondaatje South Asian Gallery
Level 3, Michael Lee-Chin Crystal
Head of Boddhisattva
(stucco), Gandhara (present-day Pakistan), 5th century AD.
(bangle), (gold, diamond, enamel), Rajasthan, 18th century AD.
Statue of Shiva
Nataraja, “Lord of Dance” (bronze), South India, 12th
Courtesy: Royal Ontario Museum
This gallery’s approximate 350 objects reflects
the ROM’s vast and diverse collections representing the artistic and
cultural traditions of South Asia. Nine thematically organized areas
present religious objects and sculpture, decorative arts, arms and armour,
miniature paintings and textiles spanning over 5,000 years and originating
from countries including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal,
Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Tibet.
The section of the gallery titled Material Remains
highlights the material culture of ancient South Asia from the Indus
Valley Civilization (3500 - 1900 BC) in present-day Pakistan to the Sunga
Period (3rd - 2nd century BC) in northern India. Other sections include Imagining
the Buddha, tracing the birth and development of Buddhist art from
the 3rd to 5th centuries, especially focusing on the region of Gandhara; The
Goddess, exploring icons of the feminine divine represented in both
benevolent and wrathful forms; and Visualizing Divinity,
showcasing representations of gods across several religions and their
various manifestations over time. Passage to Enlightenment
presents the colourful arts of the Himalayan region, which gave concrete
form to concepts of esoteric Buddhism, dating from the 15th century to the
present day, while Courtly Culture describes lavish luxury items
and displays of grandeur predominantly from the Mughal and Rajput courts.
For the modern period, Cultural Exchange
focuses on Dutch, Portuguese,and British commercial interaction with South
Asia from the 16th-19th centuries and the new social, political, and
cultural relationships that were established and, finally, Home and
the World presents modern and contemporary art of
South Asia and of the South Asian Diaspora as it absorbs and reflects
current issues in the 20th and 21st centuries.
The gallery will also share a rotating exhibition
space with the Wirth Gallery of the Middle East to showcase objects from
the ROM's Middle Eastern and South Asian collections.
First opened in 2000, much work has gone into
redeveloping the Sir Christopher Ondaatje South Asian Gallery for its new
location in the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal. The gallery is named in honour
of Sir Christopher Ondaatje, C.B.E., O.C. in appreciation of his generous
support of Renaissance ROM and the Royal Ontario Museum.
Royal Ontario Museum]