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The Ceremony of Acceptance of Works of Indian Art for Permanent Storage in the State Hermitage

The ceremony of acceptance of four works of ancient and medieval Indian art for permanent storage was held in the State Hermitage on the 24 of September 1999. These works of art were presented to the museum by Madame Krishna Riboud (France). Madame Krisha Riboud is famous as a public figure and as a scientist, author of a lot of works devoted to studying of Far-Eastern textile, president of the Association on Studying and Documentation of Asian Textile that she founded herself, bearer of the Legion d'honneur order. Indian by origin she belongs to a remarkable Indian family famous in cultural and social spheres of life at the end of the 19 th - beg.of the 20 th centuries. Madame Riboud is a grand-niece of Rabindranath Tagor, an outstanding educationist of his time. She is also an old friend of the Hermitage. As far back as 1968 she presented to the museum 3 rare miniatures on the subject of ancient Indian epos "Ramayana". The miniature is an example of Bihara school (15-17 centuries) being the only exhibit of this school in the Hermitage collection. This new present of M-me Riboud includes four wonderful pieces of ancient and medieval Indian art incomparable in their artistic merits with anything else from the Hermitage collection. Two sculptures date back to the reign of Kushana dynasty in India (I-II c.). They are examples of Mathura school (represented in the Hermitage by only one small fragment of relief) that was one of the earliest centres of ancient Indian culture and one of the most important religious and artistic centres of that time. "Head of a Man" made of famous Mathura red sandstone might belong to a statue of Buddha and is a beautiful example of early sculpture of Mathura school of the I - II centuries. The second sculpture is interesting as well - head of Bodhisattva in a typical turban tied in an elaborate knot is made of sandstone. It dates back to the II -III centuries and is an illustration of well- established by that time Mathura school. The "Golden Age" of Indian culture - Gupta period (IV- VII centuries) is not represented in the Hermitage at all. Thus, "Head of a Woman" (V -VI c.) is a precious acquisition for the museum as it is a wonderful piece of plastic art of the highest point of development of classical Indian art. The fourth monument "Bust of a Man" (X - XII c.) represents the art of Central India (at present Madhya Pradesh state). It is a fragment of relief from one of the Hindoo temples of the period of Pratihara dynasty reflecting canons of medieval art. There were no sculptures of this importance in the Hermitage collection before.

General Consul of India Santosh Kumar with a spouse were present at the ceremony of acceptance of gifts

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