Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya

Conservation of Indian Miniatures at SKD

Conservation of The Indica Collection of Indian miniatures at Kupferstich Kabinett, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

The Kupferstich-Kabinett at the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, houses two convolutes of Indian miniatures categorised separately as 'The Indica Collection'. This collection consists of two parts. The first includes a rare series of six albums of Indian miniatures, mainly portraits of Indian princes, from the late 17th and 18th centuries. The second convolute consisting of 78 miniatures that offers a broader variety of subject matters. The collection was donated by the painter Auguste von Buttlar, as inheritance of her uncle, the writer and philologist August Wilhelm Schlegel, the founder of Indology in Germany. In a joint project, art conservation specialists from the CSMVS Museum Art Conservation Centre helped conserve select miniature paintings at Dresden in the year 2015.

In continuation of this intellectual partnership, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) along with Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD) and Goethe Institut, Mumbai, organized a series of workshops and symposiums on Indian miniatures at various New Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Mumbai.. The workshops focused on Indian miniature paintings from late 17th to early 19th century. It aimed to analyse the function and perceptions of miniatures in the past and present. It addressed questions like circumstances under which these miniature paintings originally developed and reached Europe, especially to Dresden.

The German team comprised of Dr. Petra Kuhlmann-Hodick, Sr. Curator, and Olaf Simon, Senior conservator (Paper), Kupferstich Kabinett SKD – Dresden. Dr. Jayanta Sengupta, Director in-charge, Indian Museum, Kolkata and Dr. A. Nagendra Reddy, Director, Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad, helped make this event a grand success as they joined hands as venue alliances for the events. The event was supported by Dr. Hartwig Fischer, Director General, SKD Museums, Mr. Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Director General, CSMVS Dresden and Dr. Martin Wälde, Director, Goethe-Institut/ Max Mueller Bhavan, Mumbai.