Wednesday, July 2, 2008

17th Persian Kerman carpet to welcome Albert Hall visitors

Persian carpet to welcome Albert Hall visitors
Rashpal Bhardwaj
Wednesday, July 02, 2008 03:30 IST

Government to display 376-year-old carpet brought by Mirza Raja Jai Singh I from Persia for the public

The next time you visit the stately Albert Hall, which housed one of the oldest museums of the state, do not forget to have a look at the 376-year-old magnificent Persian garden carpet in the Durbar Hall.

The carpet would be the centre of attraction, which was kept locked for visitors for the past many years. Chief minister Vasundhra Raje would re-open the museum on July 1, which was closed for renovation in April 2007.

The carpet, one of India’s finest art treasures, was deteriorating due to biotic pressure. But, now the Department of Archaeology and Museums would cover the carpet, made at Kerman in Persia in 1632, with a polycarbonate compact sheet.

“The sheet cover will not only make it possible for the tourists to have a close look at the carpet but also secure the carpet’s sheen at the same time” director of the department, BL Gupta said.

The carpet portrays the garden of paradise with running water streams on a quadrangular design. Mirza Raja Jai Singh-I had bought the carpet at a dear price from Shah Abbas of Persia in between 1647 to 1650. After it was brought in the meseum,the carpet has been displayed only twice or thrice, said the officials. Besides, the Albert Hall meseum has a collection of 16 other ancient era carpets.

Of the total Rs6 crore renovation budget, a handsome amount was spent on installing international level lighting system which would give unprecedented ambience to the artifacts, said Gupta. “This lighting system gives a particular grace to the artifacts which they earlier lacked,” he said. The museum carries few new features: CCTV cameras, fire detector glass break sensor, iron railing surrounding the museum, and private security guards.

In the new sequence in the museum, the ground floor will display an Egyptian mummy that belongs to the Ptolemaic era, ancient toys and dolls, and paintings. On the first floor, the display items include arms and weapons of different rulers, textiles, carpets, metal and wood crafts, pottery, and items related to flora and fauna.

Plaques carrying details of every artifact have been placed making it easy for the tourists to know the history of the items. Colonel Sir Swinton Jacob had designed the museum in 1876 to greet King Edward VII as Prince of Wales on his visit to India. It was opened for public ten years later.
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