The permanent collection


Indian art is subject to canons highly codified by texts and tradition. Therefore, it often uses the same themes by stylizing them and by miniaturizing them. From stone to ivory, this art evokes luxuriance, grace, full and sensual forms.

Jali or openwork screen

- Real size picture, .JPG 159Ko (Modal window)North India Beginning of 17th century (circa 1610) Mughal Empire. Pink sandstone© Département06 Claude Germain

The Mughal king Jahangir appreciated precise, simple and refined geometric decorations. This jali, composed of zigzag patterns, was intended to filter the light from the sun as well as from the lanterns that lit the palace at night.

Chadar, fountain element

- Real size picture, .JPG 144Ko (Modal window)North India, 1st half of the 17th century, Mughal Empire. White marble.© Département06 Claude Germain

The function of this marble chadar was to retain water before it filled a rectangular basin located at its base; witness to the refinement of the Mughal court in the 17th century. The modernism of its design is based on the repetition of geometric shapes.

Throne legs

- Real size picture, .JPG 90Ko (Modal window)South India, 18th century. Ivory.© Laurent Sully Jaulmes

The throne has the universal function of affirming the manifestation of human or divine greatness. These four legs of a throne dating from the 18th century come from Mysore, old name of the current state of Karnataka in South India.

The material used is ivory, which has been a market value and an export product in India since ancient times. The throne legs are in the shape of a bird of prey.

The realistic representation of the cracked skin and the claws combines with the exuberant decoration of plant motifs and jewelry that cover the animal's paw. All the magnificence of the royal courts of South India is thus evoked.

Krishna and the Gopis

- Real size picture, .JPG 110Ko (Modal window)South India, 1750-1800. Painting on indigo cotton.© Laurent Sully Jaulmes

Krishna, a young god with a blue-black complexion adorned with jewels, charms the young women with the sound of his flute. These Gopis symbolize human souls in search of union with the divine. Eighth avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu, Krishna is one of the most revered gods in India. The loves of Krishna and the Gopis were one of the favorite themes of Indian artists.

This piece of fabric painted by hand with natural pigments was stretched behind the deity and belonged to the Vishnu sect of Pushtrimaga.