The exhibition has maps, manuscripts, books by Marc Aurel Stein, photographs of notes in his personal diary as well as over 100 snapshots taken by him during his expeditions. —Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma
Exhibition on Marc Aurel Stein is on at Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts
The works of Hungarian Orientalist, archaeologist and explorer Marc Aurel Stein who was instrumental in documenting the history of the Silk Road are on display at an exhibition titled “Fascinated by the Orient: Sir Marc Aurel Stein (1862-1943)” which is being organised at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts.
The exhibition takes the viewer on a trip through the fascinating life of the explorer through his early days in Europe, time spent in India and his various expeditions in search for heritage, culture, material relics, documents and religion. Through out his life, he made contributions to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences where he lectured and finally bequeathed his books, manuscripts, photographs and a collection of over 7,000 items to the library of the academy. It is from this collection that the exhibition set up at the IGNCA has been curated.
The exhibition is a personal journey too as it informs viewers not just about the travels of Stein but also gives insight into his family, friends, education and other influences that set him up to pursue his fascination. The photographs which have been divided into ten sections are like postcards from exotic lands and some of them offer breathtaking views of the Himalayas. The exhibition has on display maps, manuscripts, books by Stein, photographs of notes in his personal diary as well as over 100 snapshots taken by him during his expeditions.
Stein was given a copy of The Campaign of Alexander by Arrian (a Greek historian) when he was young by one of his teachers and it was this book that led to a lifelong fascination that resulted in many expeditions to trace the routes, stages of Alexanders’ eastern campaigns and to verify the places battles had been fought. He explored how Greek culture was transported so far into the heart of Asia which was manifested in the realm of art with the emergence Buddhist art of Gandhara in Afghanistan and India.
Stein arrived in India in 1887 where he was offered the post of Principal of the Oriental College and Registrar of the Punjab University in Lahore. It was in India that he made lifelong friends who prepared him for his long expeditions that he launched. Out of the three expeditions that have been documented in the exhibition, the first was between 1900-1901, the second between 1906-1908 and the third which was the longest between1913-1916. Each of these resulted in a detailed book.
The exhibition which is in collaboration with The Library and Information Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and with the Hungarian Cultural Information Centre, Delhi, is on till April 10. It has been curated by Agnes Kelecsényi, Keeper of the Oriental Collection of the Library and Information Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.