Ethnographic Museum A House of Art (A Pictographic Catalogue of The Central Museum of The Anthropological Survey of India)

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Item Code: NAB796
Author: Lok Nath Soni
Publisher: Anthropological Survey of India, Kolktata
Edition: 2005
ISBN: 8185579962
Pages: 30 (Illustrated Throughout in Full Color)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 10.8 inch X 8.4 inch
Weight 240 gm
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Book Description

The tradition of ethnographic museum has a chronological history in several ports of the world. At global level the existence of ethnographic is traceable since the early port of the nineteenth century. Originally the ethnographic objects did not have independent recognition and were generally included under me purview of natural history in some important centers of learning, mainly in the west. However; with of time and spread disciplines of anthropology and archaeology during the turn century; attributed to the collection and preservation of ethnographic materials and thus a movement of conventional museums gained. The enthographic objects are not only noted only for their technological significance, they are also tired with a territory and its unique natural environment. In fact many an ethnographic objects are outcome of specific eco cultural adaptations.

The general procedure adopted for documentation of the ethnographic objects consists of registration indexing and cataloguing. The preparation of the catalogue of a set of ethnographic objects is intimately connected with the highly evolved system of classification. Right from the earliest stage of the ethnographic collection the geo ethnic background and ethno functional utility of the item concerned is noted specifically while cataloguing. Cataloguing may be done ethnic group wise region wise and can also be done typologically.

This booklet ethnographic museum a house of art (A pictographic catalogue of the central museum of the anthropological survey of India) deals with and depicts the artifacts collected from all over India thematically hence it falls under typological mode of classification. It however depicts only the selected objects of the said museum. I strongly believe that this booklet will be very useful for the museum professionals students and researches in the fields of musicology and anthropology.


The purpose of setting up anthropological museums at the regional and headquarters offices of the anthropological survey of India (An.S.I) was to draw attention of the general public and scholars to the wide range of cultural diversity and biological variation of the people of the country. With this aim in view the nucleus of an anthropological museum was formed as early as 1953 at Port Blair at the regional office of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands depicting mainly the material aspects of the tribes in the region the Jarawa, onge, Sentinelese, Great Andamanese, Shompen and the Niceobarese.

The Anthropological Survey of India was established in 1945 by the Government of India as a specialized organization for advanced scientific objectives. These include inter alia, the preservation and study of the human skeletal remains both ancient and modern as well as the collection of artifacts representing the arts and crafts of the tribes of India. Over the last five decades the Survey has staidly accumulated, preserved and documented a large body of materials depicting the wide range of biological variation and the rich cultural heritage of the Indian people.

At the instance of its Advisory Committee the An S.I. put forward a proposal under the fourth five year plan (1969-74) for establishing a chain of Zonal anthropological museums (ZAM) at different places of the country in order to have authentic record of the traditional life and culture in the rural and tribal Indian including artistic creations and intensive craft specializations.

The proposal began to materialize in the fifth Plan period (1975-79) and three Zam’s wee gradually opened at Jagdalpur (April 1978) Nagpur (September 1978) and Shillong (April 1979) the central Museum at Headquarters Kolkata was opened in September 1981 and it represents different cultures from various parts of the country. The ZAM of North west Regional Center Dehradun was formally opened after restructuring in 1995. Museums at the western Regional Centre Udaipur and the southern Regional Centre Mysore are still awaiting their formal inauguration.

It is a well recognized fact that the development of the science of anthropology has been facilitated by the growth of ethnographical, ethnographical and culture history museums. Ethnographical museums are established by ethnographic collections and the collections are not mere collection of the artifacts but are the life history of those ethnic groups or communities form whom the collections have been made. Through ethnographic collections a community may be perceived in its totality. These ethnographic collections throw light on the aesthetics technology material culture, occupational and religious pursuits and arts and crafts of a community. Ethnographic collections are a part of documentation in reality culture. They tell the past history and also present the contemporary way of life of the people from where they have been collected. An old exhibit or an artifact shows the skill of a particular person/community in particular time according to their adaptation with the local eco system. In changing situation the artifacts are fashioned accordingly to have a balance between ecology and technological advancements.

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