Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya

May object


The ‘Sunfish’ is a deep sea dwelling fish which is rarely found on the surface of the sea. This fish was caught in an unknown fisherman's net, who dumped the fish at the Sassoon dock when no one was willing to purchase it. Mr. Ganesh Nakhwa, the President of the All India Persian Fisher Welfare Association and a fisherman, understanding the rarity of the species approached the Museum via the Mumbai edition desk of the Marathi daily newspaper Tarun Bharat'.

The specimen has been identified as Bump-head Sunfish or Southern Sunfish which is rarely seen in the marine ecosystem of the state of Maharashtra. This sunfish can reach up to 3.3m in length and 2300kg in mass, making it one of the two heaviest bony fish on Earth. This specimen was about three feet long and weighing thirty kilograms. Their food consists of jellyfish, squids, mollusks and small fishes.

May object



Nagapattinam, Tanjavur District

Tamil Nadu

10th century CE

60.8 x 19 cms

Gift from the Collection of Smt. Amaravati Gupta

Acc. No.B 67.4

This sculpture from a stupa at Nagapattinam provides important artistic evidence of Chinese and the Southeast Asian connections with India. An inscription records that a Chinese king constructed a stupa for Chinese traders, who arrived here during the reign of the Pallava king, Narsimavarman II (690–720 CE). Marco Polo observed this inscription in the 13th century. Though the characteristics of the Buddha standing on a double-inverted lotus are familiar, the rendering reveals foreign influences. The most remarkable feature is the flame-like ushnisha above the hair. Variations in the depiction of both hands, raised in the abhaya and the chintana mudra near the waist, are a distinct Southeast Asian feature. The image was probably gilded. The artist could have been Indian or Javanese.

April object



Andhra Pradesh

12th century CE

26 * 58 * 55 cms

Acc No 90.7/4

Saura-Pitha is one of the unique sculptures which does not depict a divinity or a decorative figure. Saura-Pitha in fact symbolises astronomical concepts expressed through religious imagery. The rising and setting of the sun provided directions and its revolution through various radical signs determined the time of the day. Both the correct direction and the right direction were computed by drawing a circle on a plain ground with gnomon fixed in the centre of the circle. The shadow of the gnomon would move proportionately with the movement of the sun and would therefore, indicate the time.

This sculpture or pitha is divided into three levels: a square base, octagonal structure in the middle and above it is a circular panel having a carved circle or chart made of lotus petals, symbolising the sun. The top circle has sixteen equidistant segments pointing to sixteen directions. Around the circle are carved the figures of the twelve constellations through which the sun makes his sojourn in one complete day of twenty four hours.

harappan jewellery


Agate, Carnelian, and Shell

Mohenjodaro, Harappan civilization

Circa 3200- 1500 B.C.E

CSMVS Collection

Over five thousand years ago, a highly refined civilization flourished on the banks of the River Indus and its tributaries. Mohenjo Daro, Harappa, Lothal, and Kalibangan were thriving centers of trade,

commerce, and artistic excellence. The discovery of beads made from semi-precious stones like carnelian, jasper, and agate, and exquisitely crafted gold, silver and terracotta ornaments reveal the antiquity of adornment in India.

akabane in show

Ruyi (Wish Granting Sceptre)


Qing dynasty,

18th century CE

Sir Ratan Tata Art Collection


Ruyi means ‘as you wish’. During the Qing dynasty (1644-1912), many such wish-granting sceptres were made as presents for the emperors, empresses and for courtiers of high rank. They were presented on special occasions such as birthdays and weddings.

Although the sceptres that are in the shape of sacred fungus (lingzhi) symbolizing immortality are themselves auspicious objects, the Chinese further embellished them with auspicious symbols and motifs of blessings. By decoding the symbols on the sceptre, one could understand the occasion for which it was made. The Ruyi were created in many mediums such as cast gold or silver, semi-precious stones like jade and nephrite, wood and lacquer.

This sceptre has a landscape with Shoulao, the God of longevity with an attendant. He is holding a branch of a peach tree symbolizing longevity. The handle is carved with the fungus of immortality, peach tree, bamboo and narcissus representing the phrase “the heavenly immortals bring birthday greetings”. The sceptre has yellow tassels which show that it came originally from the Qing Palace where yellow is the imperial colour. It is encased in a beautiful wooden box.

akabane in show

Title: Akabane in the snow

Series: Fifty Three Stations of Tōkaidō

Material: Wood block print; ink and colour on paper

Period: 19th century CE

Artist: Hiroshige(1797 – 1858)

Provenance: Japan

Acc. No.: 22.1215

The Tōkaidō highway (Eastern Sea Route) between Kyoto and Edo(now Tokyo), built in early times, rose to prominence at the beginning of the 17th century CE with the selection of Edo as the military capital of Japan. This highway is divided into 53 convenient stages or rest steps, with inns and restaurants at each. In 1832, Hiroshige was invited to join an embassy of officials to the imperial court. The resulting series of prints Tōkaidō gojūsan-tsugi [Fifty Three Stations of Tōkaidō]; a product of his sketching of the journey, was extremely successful, and led to firm establishment of his artistic reputation. The set of 55 prints (the 53 stations plus the cities of Edio and Kyoto at either end of the highway) in their unique combination of romance and realism, set a new trend in Japanese prints. This series paved the way for depiction of the whole range of Japan’s scenic beauties in a manner that the common person could readily appreciate. When Europe rediscovered Japanese print at the end of the 19th century, Hiroshige gave Western artists such as Cezanne, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gaugin and Van Gogh a new vision of nature.