‘FROM COSMOLOGY TO CARTOGRAPHY’ EXHIBITION

Text & Images: Vatsala Manan

“Cosmology to Cartography takes one on an epic journey from mythological visions of the universe, pilgrimage and religious depictions, to the accurate scientific representation of modern India. It showcases monumental original paintings of religious symbolism from the 15th to 19thc enturies juxtaposed withsome earliest historical maps of India” – National Museum of India

 

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“Cosmology to Cartography”, a showcasing of historic maps of India from the Kalakriti Archive, right from the fifteenth century to the twentieth century, is an engrossing and significant exhibition held at the National Museum of India in New Delhi. It shows the evolution of cartography in India and the subsequent changes in map making. The advancement in technology in the process of map-making can be seen in how the various maps evolve from being beautifully hand painted on cotton cloth, to delicate watercolors on fine paper, to copper engravings, and finally lithographs. It also visually narrates the story of the adapting and revisioning of the meaning making and use of cartography through the centuries in India, from cosmic spiritual significance, colonial conquests and to finally urban mapping and geopolitics.

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The interiors are stark and dark, the grey walls displaying the multifarious maps, with red and black rugs carpeting the floors, leading one visually from one epoch to the next. We start with encountering the Jains hand painted cosmological map, where the various life stages of the mortals are applied on the human body, to articulate about the Jain philosophy of the mortal world.

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Gradually as we move from one map to the next, it becomes clear that the interests are shifting from spiritual mapping of the soul, and the vision attempts to map the world outside the self, moving away from mapping what is inside. The exhibition showcases maps made in the Mughal dynasty, by the British, by the Germans, the French and the Japanese, all reflecting their own quintessential aesthetics and vision of conceptualization, dreams and fantasies. The maps are curated as such that it tells not only a visual history of India through maps, but also of the various refashioning its varied culture has been subjected to, mapping the formation and becoming of a modern nation.

bbs (1 of 5)

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Cosmology to Cartography
A Cultural Journey of Indian Maps
11 August
11 October, 2015
National Museum, New Delhi

Text & Images: Vatsala Manan

“Cosmology to Cartography takes one on an epic journey from mythological visions of the universe, pilgrimage and religious depictions, to the accurate scientific representation of modern India. It showcases monumental original paintings of religious symbolism from the 15th to 19thc enturies juxtaposed withsome earliest historical maps of India” – National Museum of India

“Cosmology to Cartography”, a showcasing of historic maps of India from the Kalakriti Archive, right from the fifteenth century to the twentieth century, is an engrossing and significant exhibition held at the National Museum of India in New Delhi. It shows the evolution of cartography in India and the subsequent changes in map making. The advancement in technology in the process of map-making can be seen in how the various maps evolve from being beautifully hand painted on cotton cloth, to delicate watercolors on fine paper, to copper engravings, and finally lithographs. It also visually narrates the story of the adapting and revisioning of the meaning making and use of cartography through the centuries in India, from cosmic spiritual significance, colonial conquests and to finally urban mapping and geopolitics.

The interiors are stark and dark, the grey walls displaying the multifarious maps, with red and black rugs carpeting the floors, leading one visually from one epoch to the next. We start with encountering the Jains hand painted cosmological map, where the various life stages of the mortals are applied on the human body, to articulate about the Jain philosophy of the mortal world. Gradually as we move from one map to the next, it becomes clear that the interests are shifting from spiritual mapping of the soul, and the vision attempts to map the world outside the self,

moving away from mapping what is inside. The exhibition showcases maps made in the Mughal dynasty, by the British, by the Germans, the French and the Japanese, all reflecting their own quintessential aesthetics and vision of conceptualization, dreams and fantasies. The maps are curated as such that it tells not only a visual history of India through maps, but also of the various refashioning its varied culture has been subjected to, mapping the formation and becoming of a modern nation.

Cosmology to Cartography
A Cultural Journey of Indian Maps
11 August
11 October, 2015
National Museum, New Delhi