Historians and researchers should help the government in its efforts to publicise the country’s antiquities through the cyber world, even as the government wants artefacts to returned to their sites to add to their contextual significance. These were the views of Culture Secretary Ravindra Singh said when he inaugurated the 23rd Indian Art History Congress (IAHC) at the National Museum (NM) in the capital, on 11 November. The IANH will focus on facilitating scholarly exchange about India’s diverse artistic forms from ancient to modern times.
‘The ASI (Archaelogical Survey of India) has published more than 3 lakh antiquities online, while 10,000 objects being exhibited by 10 museums in the country have also gone online. Their public value can rise by leaps and bounds if we got more human resource to pad them up with background material,’ he said at the opening of the three-day IAHC being attended by 200 delegates and slated to present 93 research papers around the core theme: ‘Cross-Cultural Assimilation and Composite Forms in Indian Art’.
The top bureaucrat also stressed the need for focused research on the ‘Indian Ocean as a cultural landscape’, noting that the Ministry had launched Project Mausam that will explore the impact of cross civilisational contacts in art, culture and trade on the maritime routes.
NM Director-General Dr Venu Vasudevan released a document featuring the proceedings of the 23rd IAHC. Leading historian Prof M K Dhavalikar gave a power-point presentation on the cave temples in Mumbai. Titled ‘Treasure Island’, throwing light on the value of the caves as massive repositories of Buddhist art and aesthetics that are stylistically similar to the paintings and sculptures in Ajanta and Ellora caves.