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Maharao Umed Singh of Kota on a Hunt, 1780

Never-Before-Seen Royal Treasures of Jodhpur, India to Debut in the U.S. at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

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In March, a groundbreaking exhibition is making its way to the United States for the first time. Centuries of royal treasures from Jodhpur, India — masterpieces and relics never before seen outside of palace walls — will showcase nearly four centuries of art from the kingdom of Marwar-Jodhpur, one of India’s largest princely states. The exhibition’s first stop? The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India will illustrate the rich legacy of the Rathore Dynasty, featuring lavishly-made ceremonial objects, finely-crafted arms and armor, sumptuous jewels, intricately carved furnishings, and more.

Gujarat, Palanquin (Mahadol), c.1700-1730_2
Gujarat, Palanquin (Mahadol), c. 1700–1730, gilded wood, glass, copper, and ferrous alloy, Mehrangarh Museum Trust | Neil Greentree, photographer

The stunning objects tell the tale of a fascinating history that runs the course of several centuries and includes the rule of two successive empires: the Mughals and the British. Those reigns left their mark on Jodhpur’s cultural landscape, affecting everything from art and architecture to language and administration. The exhibition illuminates how the prosperous dynasty used the commission and acquisition of objects to leverage cross-cultural exchanges.

The fort of Jodhpur-Mehrangarh has been preserved as a record of the lives and legacy of the Rathores. I look forward to sharing the artistic and cultural heritage of my country, India, and the city of Jodhpur and its people, with new audiences across North America.
-His Highness Maharaja Gaj Singh II

Peacock in the Desert is the result of a landmark partnership, marking the first time the Mehrangarh Museum Trust has shared so many of the treasured objects of their collection,” commented Gary Tinterow, MFAH director. “We are deeply honored and grateful to be the first U.S. organization to present this show, and for the opportunity to provide visitors this unprecedented experience of India’s rich cultural history.”

“The fort of Jodhpur-Mehrangarh has been preserved as a record of the lives and legacy of the Rathores,” added His Highness Maharaja Gaj Singh II. “I look forward to sharing the artistic and cultural heritage of my country, India, and the city of Jodhpur and its people, with new audiences across North America.”

Organized by the MFAH in partnership with the Mehrangarh Museum Trust of Jodhpur, Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India will be on view from March 4 to August 19, 2018 before touring to the Seattle Art Museum and the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada.

1001 Bissonnet  |  713.639.7300  |  mfah.org

Cover image: GSheikh Taju, Kota, Maharao Umed Singh of Kota on a Hunt, 1780, opaque watercolor and gold on paper, Mehrangarh Museum Trust. Neil Greentree, photographer.

Mary Cate is a Houston-based writer, photographer, and reading fiend, recently returned to her native city after time in Austin and New York City. She loves sharing the best of Houston with the world — margaritas, anyone? She and her husband serve local businesses through their digital content company, Two Cats Communications.

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