Monday, January 31, 2011

A visit to Salarjung

Few days back I visited Salarjung museum for the first time. I wanted to visit this from so many time,
wanted to see the Nizam’s jewel , their dresses and other artifacts of the Nizam’s. No doubt the onetime
palace of Nizam, Salarjung was much bigger than my expectation. The furniture, dresses, clothes,
crockery and glass wares were master pieces of that time. It made me proud of being Indian one’s
again. Our rich culture was something that we can see with beautiful decoration of jade, gold and silver.
The clocks of Nizam are yet another wonderful thing. There is a clock show at every hour for one of
the magnificent clock that rings in a beautiful way. A lady coming out of a room rings bell each hour.
Sometimes, these things make me feel, are we really advanced now with modern gadgets or those
people of older time with less equipments were more intelligent in building these master pieces ?

Each and every item in this museum is a master piece, however as it’s human tendency to compare and
find faults, that holds true for master pieces. The major attraction in this museum went to the Statue
of Rebecca, The double Statue of wood and the ivory artifacts with my eyes catching the ivory mattress
and hand fans. The European sculptures and paintings and French crockery and jade jewels. Yes, the
Indian Miniature painting with the real ivory pictures or Shah Jahan, Mumtaz, Jahangir , Noor Jahan,
Jodha Bai and Akbar. I saw the painting of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz in my 10th Std NCERT history book.
It was wonderful to see them in real, with so many colors in them irrespective of the black and white
picture given in school book.

The story of Rebecca :-

This story is about the daughter of Bethual, from Old Testament(the holy bible). She depicted a lady of
beauty, modesty, hospitality and decision making. Sarah and Abraham wanted a suitable wife for their
son Issac. Abraham sent out his servant in search of a noble wife for Issac. The servant was in vein as it
was nearly impossible to find the most suitable bride for Issac.
He prayed constantly on the way to Abraham’s God to show him the bride for Issac. He said” Oh! Lord
you have choose the right bride for Issac, allow me to reach her soon and identify her among so many
girls. Show me clearly who she is. If I ask her for water and she say’s ‘Drink! And I will water your camels
too.’ Then I will know that she is the one.”
Soon, the servant reached a well where Abraham was once living. He saw a group of women. He asked
one, ”Please give me little water from your jug” and the lady replied “Drink ! and I will water your
camels too.” The servant was excited and did not take much time to explain his mission to her.
Then Issac was invited to Rebecca’s house. Shyness and modesty so natural to the young women
overpowered her that she covered her head with a veil. This modest act in a way expressed her
willingness to marry Issac. But, her eyes shone when Issac met her and they fall in love at first sight.
God had known the right person for both Rebecca and Issac. This covering of head by a veil was
sculptured by G.B. Benzoni in a single stone Marvel. The masterpiece is unique and so beautifully carved that the threads of the veil is clearly visible. The facial expression of Rebecca inside the veil is clearly
visible and the gown has neat embroidery with buttons. The statue is the best among all the European
art forms that the Salarjung museum has. All spectators just stop by the statue and stare at it with
amazing look. Some might be wondering, how beautiful the Lady in reality would have been and how
beautifully it is sculptured in one single marvel.

The Double Statue :- Mephistopheles and Margaretta

This statue was made out of a one piece log of wood. The Statue is based on the tragic play of
Goethe Faust. Faust the hero of the drama, a man of manifold accomplished Jurist, Physician finds all
knowledge ‘a bubble’ and feels drawn to it. Mephistopheleus, the malevolent spirit, complains to the
Lord of Heaven that the highest pleasures fails to satisfy the haughty Faust. Mephistopheles befriends
Faust and by clever arguments excites his interest in sensual pleasures. Faust fell in love with Margaretta
who is young and poor. Mephistopheleus resides in margaretta’s body, that is depicted beautifully by
the unknown sculptor.

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