New Delhi: A boar-headed copper anthropomorph, a terracotta female figurine with animal horns and a monumental Naga Deva stone sculpture are amongst a few rare art objects displayed in the capital for the first time in an exhibition at the National Museum.
"The Body in Indian Art" brings together 300 artworks sourced from 44 institutions across India.
Spread over 18,000 square feet, the two-month long exhibition attempts to find answers to the universal question on death, birth and rebirth by tracing the body in several civilizations.
"About 20-25 percent of the artefacts in the exhibition have never been shown before and another 60 percent have seldom been seen before as they were lying in museums in small towns of India," Naman P. Ahuja, curator, said in a statement Wednesday.
This exhibition was brought here after it wooed international audience at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels for four months during the cultural extravaganza Europalia.India.
According to Ahuja, the boar-headed copper anthropomorph belonging to either second or first millennium BC was lying unnoticed in a museum storeroom and is a "significant" new discovery.
"It is a rare piece of art that existed between the Harappan civilisation and the Mauryan Empire, and takes the story of Indian gods and goddesses to an earlier date than what we had imagined. It is a huge find and an exciting object for art historians, archaeologists and linguists," said Ahuja.
Apart from this, tiny Harrapan figures -- excavated in 1933, a terracotta female figurine with animal horns from Mohenjo-daro settlement and two horned masks are also displayed for the first time.
An 8th century Uma-Maheshvara sculpture and a 9th century Naga Deva sculpture -- both from Bhopal Museum -- are exhibited for the first time in the capital.
The exhibition ends June 7.