Passaggi in India. Ieri e oggi
The Museo Nazionale d'Arte Orientale, whose name has recently been changed in honor of the late illustrious orientalist Prof. Giuseppe Tucci, was founded in 1957 through the efforts of Prof. Tucci himself. It opened its doors to the public for the first time the following year. A State institute (Ministero per i Beni e le le Attività Culturale, or Culture Ministry, linked with the Italian Institute for Africa and the Orient, the IsIAO, formerly the IsMEO), it operates under a convention by which works belonging to the IsIAO (much of which comes from excavations carried out at various times in Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan) are deposited at the museum. The museum boasts the most ample collection in all Europe of the art of Gandhara ( Pakistan , Swat).
It is a museum of a predominantly archeological nature, which conserves works of a far-flung geographical reach, from the Near East to the Far East and Southeast Asia , and from an extended arc of time, from proto-history to the Nineteenth Century.
Recently the museum has been enriched by a generous donation: 2,090 works relating in particular to the Tibeto-Nepalese region and to Iran .
In addition to exhibiting and conserving its collection, the Museo Nazionale d'Arte Orientale also fulfills its role as caretaker and promoter on a national scale: it boasts, in fact, an archive of the Oriental collections held in Italy, a photographic archive (which also gathers documentation concerning IsIAO excavations in the Orient), a specialized library, a service for bio-archeology and a restoration laboratory. The museum is located in Rome 's Palazzo Brancaccio.
From the Indian section of the museum, five sculptures in stone and three in bronze will be put on display in the exhibition Passaggi in India . Ieri e oggi (Passages to India : Yesterday and Today). These works of great beauty are connected to the itineraries travelled by the Daniells.
The three stelae come from Bihar (or from Bengal ) and document Pala art, with reference both to Hinduism and Buddhism. They are the property of the IsIAO. One of these refigures the god Vishnu, as do the two sculptures of South-Central India . The most suggestive of these latter shows the divine couple Vishnu and Lakshmi transported through the air from Garuda.
Another itinerary of the Daniells, relating to Southern India, includes three sculptures in bronze: the Shiva Hataraya, property of the Bank of Italy (once belonging to the GualinoCollection), the Krishna child in the act of dancing (an acquisition recently made by the museum), and the Garuda in attitude of veneration, datable to the period in which the Daniells travelled through India.