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Silver Splendor: Conserving the Royal Thrones of Dungarpur, India Now at the Nelson-Atkins Museum

Maharaja's Thrones, India, 1911, molded and carved silver sheet, wrapped around a wood core, with silk velvet, brocaded silk and horse or ox tail, 59 1/4 x 31 1/2 x 35 7/16 in. (150.5 x 80 x 90 cm.), Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust through the George H. and Elizabeth O. Davis Fund, 2013.10.1.1

Silver Splendor: Conserving the Royal Thrones of Dungarpur, India
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

May 21, 2022-May 28, 2023

Thrones communicate the authority and grandeur of their owners. Created in the early 1900s while India was under British colonial rule, these silver thrones and their regalia reveal complex histories of cultural exchange and the representation of political power. In 1911 the Maharawal (ruler) of Dungarpur, a small kingdom in the western state of Rajasthan, commissioned these European-style objects for use in a new royal palace. 1911 was also the year of the British King George V’s coronation as Emperor of India, an event celebrated by a grand Durbar (court assembly) and King-Emperor’s tour of India. Given the date, the thrones were likely created to receive dignitaries in Dungarpur during this year of tours and celebrations. A former Dungarpur king brought the thrones to Europe in 1969 and the Nelson-Atkins acquired them in 2013. Since then, the museum, with local and international partners, restored these objects, using a combination of advanced technologies and traditional Indian art forms to give a sense of their original appearance.

Visitors can request special tours of the exhibition. Read more, click here

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