Prestigious Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam recently X-rayed its thousand years old monumental Shiva-Nataraja statue as a part of research and was surprised to know that it was cast in solid bronze.
Hollow sculptures have reportedly been a common practice in Europe since the Greek Antiquity. Museum discovered after X-ray that even the aureole and the demon under Shiva’s feet were also solid.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed has applauded Rijksmuseum for its interest in Hindu artifacts.
This Dancing Shiva statue was X-rayed using high-energy digital radiation, along with the lorry transporting it, in the most powerful X-ray tunnel for containers of the Rotterdam customs authority, normally used to scan sea containers for suspicious contents. It is said to be the first research of its kind on a museological masterpiece.
At 153 cm x 114.5 cm, this 300 kilograms Shiva statue is claimed to be the largest known bronze statue from the Chola Dynasty kept in a museological collection outside of India. “This solid bronze Shiva is evidence of a high level of mastery of bronze casting”, a Museum release says.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, urged the major museums of world to acquire more Hindu sculpture and art; dedicate permanent space to Hindu artifacts; and organize more exhibitions of Hindu art, sculptures, and architecture to make aware the present and future generations about their richness.
Rajan Zed argued that because of their richness and other factors, Hindu artifacts were becoming favorite of museums in America and the West. Many prestigious museums already owned Hindu sculptures and other artifacts and many were planning to acquire.
Even some formations in world famous Grand Canyon National Park of USA were named as Shiva Temple, Krishna Shrine, Vishnu Temple, Rama Shrine, Brahma Temple (7851 feet), and Hindu Amphitheater, Zed pointed out.
According to Rajan Zed, various renowned museums in USA which have acquired statues and other artifacts of Hindu deities include Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, California; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond; Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California; Museum of Art and Archaeology in University of Missouri-Columbia, Missouri; Mingei International Museum in San Diego, California; American Museum of Natural History, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art in Pennsylvania; Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland; Dallas Museum of Art, Texas; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri; etc.
Zed further says that other prestigious world museums, which possess statues of Hindu deities, include British Museum in London, United Kingdom; Musée Guimet in Paris, France; Museum für Asiatische Kunst in Berlin, Germany; Te Papa Museum in Wellington, New Zealand; Beijing World Art Museum, China; National Museum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada; Victoria and Albert Museum in London, United Kingdom; etc. Thailand reportedly has a private Ganesha Museum.
Rajan Zed asked foremost art museums of the world, including Musee du Louvre and Musee d’Orsay of Paris, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Los Angeles Getty Center, Uffizi Gallery of Florence (Italy), Art Institute of Chicago, Tate Modern of London, Prado Museum of Madrid (Spain), National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, etc., to frequently organize Hindu art focused exhibitions, thus sharing the rich Hindu art heritage with the rest of the world.
The Rijksmuseum is the national museum of the Netherlands, whose collection comprises 1.1 million objects dating from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Its history goes back to 1800 and it attracts about 900,000 visitors each year. A. Ruys is Chair while Anna Ślączka is curator of South Asian Art of this Museum which contains many stone and bronze sculptures from India.
Zed said that art had a long and rich tradition in Hinduism and ancient Sanskrit literature talked about religious paintings of deities on wood or cloth. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.