Show brings unseen Indian art to light

Two thousand year-old Buddhist sculptures are among the attractions at an exhibition celebrating the University’s links with India.

More than 50 objects, which have never been exhibited before, will be showcased at the University’s Main Library during the Festival Fringe.

The manuscripts, sculptures and paintings span two millennia of the art and culture of the Indian subcontinent and were collected by Scots in British India.

Highlands to Hindustan: Indian Art in University of Edinburgh Collections

The exhibition runs from 28 July-4 Nov

University of Edinburgh Main Library

Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm, and Sundays throughout August

More information

Ancient artefacts

The stone Buddha-head and other fragments originate from the ancient kingdom of Gandhara, situated in modern northwest Pakistan.

It is one of the oldest objects from the region in the University’s collection.

The 200,000-verse Mahabharata – one of the two major epic poems of ancient India – is set out in a 72 metre long manuscript scroll dating from 1795 and is encased in a box with a handle to turn it.

A watercolour sketch showing the annual migration Himalayan shepherd chiefs, will also feature in the exhibition.

It was collected by Hugh Cleghorn from Fife – who served as an assistant surgeon in India in the 1840s. There he developed a keen interest in botany and became known as the father of scientific forestry.

Vibrant display

Further attractions include a set of copper plates from South India forming a royal charter from 447 AD for Pallava kings and a 16th century album of calligraphy and poetry.

Films of traditional Indian dancing and music will also be on display.

Festival event

The exhibition – part of Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe – was curated by Dr Yuthika Sharma, an expert in South Asian Art at the University’s Edinburgh College of Art, in collaboration with Dr Andrew Grout, former archivist of the Library’s Special Collections.

I am delighted to showcase the rich splendour of Indian and South Asian art from the University’s collections during this year’s Festival Fringe. I hope visitors will enjoy the visually stunning exhibits that tell the story of cultural interactions spanning two millennia and the role these objects played in shaping the world views and ideas of their makers and collectors.

Dr Yuthika SharmaEdinburgh College of Art

Related links

Highlands to Hindustan: Indian Art in University of Edinburgh Collections

Centre for Research Collections

Dr Yuthika Sharma

Centre for South Asian Studies