BHUBANESWAR: The six Jain idols that were excavated by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) from Ambadola village in Rayagada district in June this year were displayed at State Museum on the occasion of its 58th foundation day on Tuesday.
These metal idols that date between sixth and ninth century AD were discovered from an ancient well 300 metres from river Bansadhara. While all the idols are made of brass metal, two of them have inscriptions written in Gupta Brahmi script called ‘Sri Chandra’. This script can be identified with Jain Tirthankara Chandraprabha, said Museum Superintendent Jayanti Rath.
Apart from these six Jain idols, the State Museum has metal idols of Tirthankars, from Risabhanath to Mahavira, on display. Jainism was established in Odisha in fourth century BC.
To mark the foundation day, a two-day workshop on protection of heritage was conducted by former dean of National Museum Institute KK Jain on Sunday and Monday. Besides, an exhibition on weaving traditions of North-East was organised on the museum premises on Tuesday.
On the other hand, proposed galleries on ‘Mining and Jewellery’, ‘Odisha Through Ages’, ‘Human Evolution’, ‘Freedom Fighters’ and ‘Pattachitra’ that were announced on the 54th foundation day of the museum, are yet to see the light of the day. Culture Minister Ashok Panda said the State Museum has recently entered into an agreement with National Council of Science Museums which will renovate the existing galleries and construct the new ones soon.
The museum, which was established in 1938 as the Provincial Museum of Odisha in Cuttack and later shifted to Bhubaneswar in 1947-48, represents the best of the art and cultural traditions of ancient Kalinga. It has a collection of 56,375 artefacts of which 55,485 are put on display. The rest are gathering dust in storerooms.
As of today, the museum faces a severe dearth of manpower. Having 10 galleries including Numismatics, Archaeology, Geology, Palm Leaf Painting and Natural History, it is facing paucity of curators, assistant curators, attendants, technical assistants and Class IV staff. In absence of curators, visitors to the museum find it difficult to get information about the artefacts. During the tourism season, the museum witnesses footfall of around 1,000 persons everyday.