Museums & Art Galleries: Andhra Pradesh

State Museum , Hyderabad
A Shield of damascene steel,  Mugal school, early 18th century AD
The State Museum, housed in a building converted from one of the Nizam's mansions, has been in existence since 1930. On the ground' floor arc-bronzes. weaponry and Stone Age implements. The bronzes are the museum's best section. Amongst the many images on view are a number of bronzes, especially Taras and temple lamps from Nepal. However, the interesting objects are a life-size lizard, a mother and child dating to the 2nd century BC, three enormous temple bells, an unusual boyish rendering of Parvati and a Narasimha, seated with Lakshmi on his lap.

Upstairs are cases of ivory, enamel and porcelain ware as well as examples of Bidri, the state's best known craft technique. The first floor also displays , huge reproductions ofAjanta frescoes. The contemporary art collection is placed in a building adjacent to the museum.

In the semi circular ground surrounding the buildings are ancient stone sculpture embedded in the walls, while a number of cannons lie scattered around. Suddenly, one stumbles upon an enormous, magnificent wooden rath and a reconstructed temple with a huge shivalinga covered by a beautifully carved ancient stone canopy.

State Museum
Public Gardens (Near Nampally Station)
Timing: 10.30 am to 5.00 pm
Closed on Mondays and government holidays.

SalarJung Museum, Hyderabad
Sailaba, Hyderabad, 18th century and talwar, Hyderabad, 17th century
The SalarJung Museum houses the private collections of SalarJung, the Nizam of Hyderabad's prime minister. Besides exhibiting SalarJung's personal belongings, the museum has fine collections of jade, metalware, textiles and weapons.

The Jade Room displays beautiful wine bowls, daggers with jade handles, plates, mirror frames in soft translucent colours: white, pink and shades of green. The metalware includes Bidri hookah stands, trays and plates. There are carved ivory chess sets, screens and images. The textile section exhibits kalamkaris (painted and printed cotton spreads) from Masulipatnam and Kalahasti, shawls from Kashmir, brocades and embroideries.

The paintings on view include Jain palm leaf miniatures, miniatures from the Deccani, Malwa, Mewar and Kangra schools. There is also a Western Art section which contains glass from Venice, Bohemia and England, imitations of European painters and the museum's pride: The Veiled Rebecca by G B Benzoni(1876).

SalarJung Museum
Timing: 10.00 am to 5.00 pm
Closed on Fridays and government holidays.

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