20th Oct, 2017

Punjab arts and crafts treasures coming to Coventry from London's V&A museum

Correspondent 6th Oct, 2017

ARTS and crafts treasures of the Punjab region of India – some dating back to the second century – are going on display in Coventry.

Part of the stunning South Asian collection from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) is coming to the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum.

‘Crafts of the Punjab’ features some never before seen objects.

Unique craft artefacts and a famous golden throne demontrate the region’s ‘rich artisanal legacy’.

More than 80 objects dating from the 2nd to 19th century will be on show.

The exhibition focuses on the two major cities of Lahore and Amritsar, and craft industries from surrounding towns.

The Herbert says: “The exhibition includes the skilful art of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain sculpture, Lahore’s Pinjra woodwork, Amritsar’s delicately carved ivories, Hoshiarpur’s ivory-inlaid wood and Sialkot’s gold-inlaid steel artefacts.

“One of the most extraordinary pieces, The Golden Throne of the first Sikh Maharaja of the Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, will take centre stage.

“Made in Lahore by the Muslim craftsman Hafez Muhammad Multani, it echoes the decorative motifs found on the Golden Temple in Amritsar and exemplifies the cross-cultural influences that defined this remarkable region, now divided between India and Pakistan.”

Tristram Hunt, director of the V&A said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with Culture Coventry to bring this exceptional exhibition of South Asian craft and artistry to the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum.

“Supporting art and design is central to the V&A’s mission, and we aim to open up the V&A’s collections for audiences all across the UK through our extensive loans and touring exhibitions programme.

“Our partnership with Coventry will continue well into 2018, with the launch of DesignLab Nation, the V&A’s ambitious new education programme to support Design and Technology education for 11 to 16-year-olds, that will bring together local schools and museums with Coventry’s rich local history and industry to inspire the next generation.”

Francis Ranford, director of audience engagement at the Herbert, said: “Culture Coventry have worked in partnership with the V&A for many years and this exhibition demonstrates how excellence can be brought to the region through collaboration of ideas, skills and knowledge.

“Crafts of the Punjab is a stunning display of design and making that represents a real cross section of cultural heritage that is strongly connected to Coventry and the wider West Midlands region.

“By working with the V&A we are able to bring such culturally significant artefacts to our visitors locally and regionally, to celebrate, learn and inspire future generations of makers.”

Crafts of the Punjab: Explore the V&A’s South Asian Collection is on from Friday October 20 until Sunday 21 January, admission is free.

Running alongside a schedule of complementary workshops and events, the Herbert Art Gallery’s Autumn/ Winter programme includes a significant exhibition of Picasso linocuts from the British Museum.

Full details are available at http://www.theherbert.org/whats_on/

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