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South Asian Art

VMFA is home to one of America’s premier collections of Greater Indian and Himalayan art, featuring spectacular examples of sculpture, paintings, architecture, textiles, and decorative art.

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Highlights - Art of Greater India

This collection showcases the diversity of regional cultures and religious traditions that have defined the Indian subcontinent’s artistic production over more than 3000 years. From sublime sculptures and stunning paintings, to opulent textiles and glittering decorative arts, it is filled with masterpieces that both delight and educate.

Highlights - Art of the Himalayas

The arts of Nepal and Tibet are represented through an impressive assemblage of paintings, sculptures, book arts, textiles, and ritual objects spanning nearly eight centuries. Most of these artworks relate to the region’s dominant religious traditions, Buddhism and Hinduism, both of which came to the Himalayas from India.

On view in the South Asian Galleries

Love & Longing in Indian Painting

The varied aspects of romantic love is one of the most prominent themes in the arts of India. Authors produced treatises on the many types of lovers and their differing temperaments. Poets compiled cycles of verse likening love’s phases to the passage of the seasons. Writers compared the religious quest for unity with the divine to the pursuit of one’s beloved. Composers crafted musical arrangements to express love’s many moods. And artists created paintings to visualize these and myriad other musings on the subject of love.

This exhibition’s presentation explores the subject matter of love; its many facets and the wide range of emotions it can produce— from enchantment, passion, and joy to betrayal, self-pity, and anguish.