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MFAH’s ground breaking exhibition of royal treasures from Jodhpur, India

MFAH’s ground breaking exhibition of royal treasures from Jodhpur, India

FP_MFAH_Peacock in the Desert_News Release_January 2018-1

Unprecedented loans from Jodhpur on view in Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Masterpieces and relics, never before seen beyond palace walls, illustrate the history and artistic legacy of the Rathore Dynasty

HOUSTON—January 8, 2018—A major collaboration brings a groundbreaking exhibition of royal treasures from India to Houston in March. Organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in partnership with the Mehrangarh Museum Trust of Jodhpur, Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India showcases nearly four centuries of artistic creation from the kingdom of Marwar-Jodhpur, one of the largest princely states in India, in the northwestern state of Rajasthan. The exhibition will be on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, from March 4 to August 19, 2018, before touring to the Seattle Art Museum and the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada. Through lavishly made ceremonial objects, finely crafted arms and armor, sumptuous jewels, intricately carved furnishings and more, Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India outlines the dynamic history of the Marwar-Jodhpur region and the Rathore dynasty that ruled it for over seven centuries. Established in the 15th century, the city of Jodhpur was once the powerful capital of Marwar, a vast desert kingdom ruled by the Rathores, who were descendants of a hereditary social caste of Hindu warriors and kings (known as “kshatriyas”). Over the course of several centuries, the prosperity of Jodhpur attracted the attention of two successive empires who ruled India: the Mughals and the British. Both encounters reshaped Jodhpur’s cultural landscape, introducing objects, artists, languages, architectural styles and systems of administration that influenced the royal identity of the Rathore dynasty. Through some 250 objects from Indian courtly life, most never before seen outside of Jodphur, the exhibition illuminates how the Rathores acquired and commissioned objects amidst these cross-cultural exchanges to leverage patronage, diplomacy, matrimonial alliances, trade, and conquest.

Gary Tinterow, MFAH director briefing the guests at Consul General Dr. Ray's residence on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. (Photo:Shobana Muratee).

Gary Tinterow, MFAH director briefing the guests at Consul General Dr. Ray’s residence on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. (Photo:Shobana Muratee).

COMM_Museum promo 4_guestsDrawn primarily from the collections of the Mehrangarh Museum Trust and the private collections of the royal family of Jodhpur, the exhibition marks the first time that most of these treasures—including paintings, decorative arts and furniture, tents, canopies, carpets, textiles, and weapons—will be seen outside of their palace setting at Mehrangarh Fort and the first time they will travel abroad.
The foundations of the Fort, carved out of a rocky hillside 400 feet above Jodhpur, were laid by the Rathores in 1459 as a military stronghold. The Fort, famously described by Rudyard Kipling as “a palace that might have been built by Titans and colored by the morning sun,” has been the seat of the Rathore dynasty since then, serving as a royal residence, a center of cultural patronage, and a place of worship for the royal clan. Today, it houses the collection of the Mehrangarh Museum Trust, which was established in 1972 by the current dynastic head of the Rathore clan, His Highness Maharaja Gaj Singh II, and remains one of the most important and best-preserved collections of fine and applied arts from the Mughal period of Indian history.
For more details, visit www.mfah.org


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