Jewels of India Arrive at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Yesterday, Mac and I attended the most recent blockbuster exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, "Maharaja: The Splendor of India's Great Kings." The gorgeous--and informative--exhibit was organized by London's Victoria and Albert Museum and runs in the VMFA's special exhibition space through August 19. The display of 200 opulent objects from the Indian kings actually begins in the atrium, where a spectacular 1915 carriage sheathed in silver and decorated with enamel representations of flowers, birds, and butterflies entices visitors to the floor below. The ten-room exhibit pays tribute to the taste for opulence among the plethora of Indian kings who ruled their dominions during the glory days of the British Empire. A life-size model of an elephant and another of a horse set off saddles and other richly adorned trappings. The dazzling exhibit features lots of "bling" with a throne richly decorated in gold, gold turban ornaments encrusted with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and pearls, and swords and other weaponry encrusted with jewels. In addition, there are sparkling textiles including robes, an extravagant wedding dress, and other garments. Another interesting feature is archival video footage of the period depicting actual royal events involving the Maharaja. The museum shop has enhanced its collection with even more gemstones and precious jewels, and the upscale Amuse Restaurant will entice diners with various entrees with India themes. Tickets to the exhibit are $15, but it is free for VMFA members. For additional information, visit www.vmfa.state.va.us. The VMFA is within walking distance from Maury Place at Monument.