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Home Cover Features Silver Artefacts In The Collection Of H E H The Nizam's Museum, Hyderabad

Silver Artefacts In The Collection Of H E H The Nizam's Museum, Hyderabad

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By D. Bhaskara Rao, Curator, H E H The Nizam's Museum, Hyderabad

Photo Courtesy: H E H The Nizam's Museum, Hyderabad

Situated in the Purani Haveli, an ancestral palace of the Nizam, H E H The Nizam’s Museum showcases the artefacts and art objects presented to the Seventh and last Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan, on the occasion of the completion of twenty-five years of his reign as the Nizam of Hyderabad. All the citizens of the Hyderabad State joined together and celebrated the occasion on 13th February 1937 (instead of 1936) with great enthusiasm and in a befitting manner. On that occasion a cross-section of the community, distinguished persons both in and outside Hyderabad as well as associations, institutions, government departments and different communities, as a mark of respect to their Ruler, presented exquisite artefacts and be-jeweled objects, which forms the nucleus of the museum.

Mir Osman Ali Khan, the last Ruler of the Asaf Jahi dynasty, succeeded his father as the Seventh Nizam of Hyderabad on 29th August 1911, but the formal coronation was held on 12th September 1911. Mir Osman Ali Khan, at the very outset, made up his mind to build up a modern state on par with the most advanced countries of the world and also to improve administration, develop natural resources, establish cultural institutions and amelioration of the condition of the people.

The outstanding event of his period was the epoch making ‘Farman’ involved on 17th August 1917 announcing his decision to start a separate university for Hyderabad with Urdu as a medium of instruction, and named it ‘Osmania University’.

The Archaeological Department was constituted in 1914 to conserve the principle monuments of his dominion. The greatest achievement of his department was the meticulous conservation of Ajanta caves with the help of two experts from Italy, Professor Ceconi and Count Orsini. Other landmark achievements of his period are: the construction of Osman Sagar and Himayat Sagar in 1920 and 1927 respectively; establishment of Jagirdar’s College in 1923 (later converted to Hyderabad Public School), opening of Osmania Medical College (1926), creation of Industrial Trust Fund to promote local industries (1929) and the inauguration of the new Constitution of the Government on 17th November 1919 with an Executive Council.

The Nizam’s rule saw the growth of Hyderabad economically and culturally. Electricity, railways, road and airways were developed. Huge reservoirs and irrigation projects such as Nizam Sagar and Ali Sagar were completed. Preliminary work of Nagarjuna Sagar was undertaken. The Osmania University, colleges and schools were founded throughout the State. Nearly all the public buildings currently in use such as Osmania Medical Hospital, High Court, State Central Library, Unani Hospital, Town Hall (presently Legislative Assembly), Jubilee Hall and the Hyderabad State Museum were built during his rule.

Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan died on 24th February 1967 and thus came to an end the saga of the famous Asaf Jahi dynasty.
The museum collection includes silver caskets, silver models, oil and water colour paintings, Bidriware, bejeweled swords and daggers, porcelain ware, glass objects, filigree walking sticks, ivory carvings, jade objects, gold objects inlaid with precious stones, calligraphy, photographs, etc.

Silver artefacts form the major part of the collection. There are about 45 silver caskets in the collection depicting floral and creeper designs, jungle scenes, historical monuments and scenery in either embossing, engraving or etching workmanship and are a treat to watch. Some of the caskets are also embedded with precious stones such as diamonds, gold, rubies and emeralds. The silver caskets along with the gold roses are the presentations made to H E H Mir Osman Ali Khan, Nizam VII on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee Celebrations held during February 1937.

There are about a dozen silver models, which besides exhibiting the exquisite workmanship of silver craft also showcase their skill in executing such attractive models like Arts College of Osmania University, High Court, Moazzam Jahi Market, Nampally Railway Station, Nizam Sagar, Rendition of Secunderabad, Public Garden, Soan Bridge, Shahgadh Bridge, silver map of Hyderabad State showing road, rail and air route, the earliest Muncipal Corporation of Hyderabad building at Darul Shifa, Aza Khana Zohra and Masjid-e-Nabvi. The achievements were made in the sphere of education, communication, justice, health and hygiene, irrigation, administration and public utility.

The museum also showcases silver Pandaans, Khasdaans, Ittardaans (scent bottle), cigar and cigar cases, Changerdaan, tea sets, hukkah models, silver cradle of the Seventh Nizam. Mention may be made of an interesting silver ittardaan in the shape of a tree (punna chettu) in Ganga Jamni ware depicting the stealing of clothes by Krishna of the Gopikas. This was presented by the Raja of Palavancha, Bhadrachalam.

In a nutshell the museum showcases silver art at its best as the artisans exhibited their command and skill over almost all the techniques they were familiar with.

Month: July 2010

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