Art replicas excite children, artists

Replicas of rare artwork and sculptures from across India, exhibited at the Replica Museum in Siri Fort auditorium by the Delhi Circle of Archaeological Survey of India, has gained immense popularity among children and young artists even before the inauguration.

ASI officials say they have been getting calls from schools to organise field trip and various young artists who want to wokr on their college projects. “The basic idea is to help people see art from different times at one place. If someone plans to tour cities and see these sculptures they will take at least three months. But you can see the replicas here in just two hours. We attempt to complete 100 replicas of the finest artwork housed in various museums across the country. This is good exposure to people who cannot afford to visit these places due to lack of time or funds,” said K K Muhammed, senior archaeologist with ASI, Delhi circle.

The Replica Museum was set up in June 2011 and it houses 25 replicas from eight states, displayed in the gallery with details of their history and significance. More than 20 schools have visited this museum so far.

The Delhi circle of ASI has recently sent a letter to the Ministry of Culture for inaugurating the museum by February 2012. The museum lies ahead of the Siri Fort auditorium parking. “The building where the museum has been built originally belonged to a Delhi Development Authority (DDA) officers’ club.

“It was transferred to ASI after a legal battle by V P Singh, former Prime Minister, Ajit Cour, renowned writer and Aparna Caur, a prominent Sikh artist,” added Muhammed.

The museum has replicas of sculptures such as Rudra Siva from the 6th Century in Tala (Chhattisgarh), Didarganj Yakshi from the Mauryan period in Patna, a posture of the preaching Buddha originally made in the 13th Century in Sarnath (Uttar Pradesh), the famous Mahishasura Mardini from Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu), and an interesting depiction of Jesus Christ on the Cross with Mother Mary looking at him from the 16th Century in Old Goa and others.

ASI plans to include replicas from neighbouring countries such as China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Burma and Sri Lanka, to give a wider range of art work to an avid traveller.

“Foreign visitors who come to Agra and Delhi get to see only the Sultanate art or Mughal art. I have spoken with many tourists who return with a wrong impression that this is the only kind of art in the country. We want to break this myth,” added Muhammed.

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