Assam State Museum:
This museum was founded in 1940 with a nucleus collection assembled
by the Kamarupa Anusandhan Samiti (Assam Research Society). The
museum's collection is largely archaeological, with sections devoted
to epigraphy, numismatics and iconography. The sculptures from the
Assam region fall into four principal categories - stone, wood,
metal and terracotta. In ancient inscriptions of the Gupta period
Assam was referred to as Kamarupa. Shiva is said to have carried
the dead body of his wife sati and danced in range and sadness.
Her body was scattered throughout the land by the force of the dance.
Her yoni (female sexual organ) fell at the place where the Kamakhya
Devi temple now stands, on a hill near Guwahati - the present capital
of Assam, on the banks of the Brahmaputra. Worship in this temple
continues even today, with blood sacrifices of animals to appease
Shakti, the powerful female principle. Apart from mother goddess
worship, a strong Vaishnava cult also grew in Assam and many sculptures
in the museum reflect the multiple strands of the culture of this
region. The bust of the Devi (ninth century) and the figures of
lovers in the Assam museum reflect one aspect of the tradition of
shakti worship. The figures in sculpture carry marked Assamese features:
high cheekbones and rounded faces, with long, often slanted, eyes.
With the conquest of Assam in 1288 by the Ahoms, a tribe of Thai
origin, the influence of Indian art reached more distant regions,
and in turn developed a new synthesis of cultures. The mighty Ahom
rulers prevented the Mughals from conquering their territory and
influencing their art. During British rule, like the rest of India,
Assam came into administrative and cultural contact with Britain.
Address: Assam State Museum, Guwahati, Assam. Hours: 10
am 4.30 pm except on Mondays and government holidays.
Museum: Department of Anthropology, Guwahati University.
An ethnological collection of all branches of anthropology. Timings:
1000 to 1600 hrs. Closed on University holidays.
Forest Museum: Exotic ferns and plants.
Closed on Sunday
Timings: 1000 to 1600 hrs.
Saturday: 1000 to 1300 hrs.
Historical and Antiquarian Research: Ancient and illuminated
manuscripts and records. Closed on Sunday. Timings. 1000 to 1600