The exhibition presents the public with a significant portion of the collections of the Museo Indiano cittadino (Indian Museum of Bologna), which was opened in the Archiginnasio building in 1907, in co-partnership with the municipal and university authorities, and closed in 1935, following the death of its founder, Francesco Lorenzo Pullè.
From the Museum’s name, you would think it only housed collections relating to the artistic and cultural scene of India. But in actual fact, the collections were made up of material fromIndia, China and Japan, now preserved at the Museo Civico Medievale (Medieval City Museum) and the Museo di Palazzo Poggi (Palazzo Poggi Museum), which is taking part in the initiative by offering a few items on loan. Special importance will be given to the presence of statues of the Himalayan and Chinese Buddhist pantheon, as well as to the rich, highly valuable photography collection, which is one of the largest and most detailed collections of prints of Gandhara art in Europe and, in all likelihood, in the world. It is even more important than similar collections kept at the British Museum and at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
The exhibition will therefore endeavour to present the abundant wealth of material of Buddhist origin available, including several important recently-restored items, without forgetting to take a look at the artistic expressions of India’s Hindu culture.