OPENING HOURS: MONDAY – Friday : 10.00 AM TO 8.00 PM


PRACHINA Bikaner Cultural Center and Museum

Gallery Western

By the late nineteenth century, a new style of palace building became fashionable in India. The Rajas discovered European Architectural styles. Equally significant were the changes that took place in the interiors of Indian palaces. Bikaner too became a part of this hybrid Indo-European lifestyle. Classical French furniture, beautiful porcelains vases from China and Japan, oil paintings by European masters, mirrors and stained glass from Belgium, cut-glass chandeliers and Venice became raging fashion.

Objects of Everyday life
Towards the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, a major confluence of indigenous traditions and European influence became visible in Bikaner. A new aesthetic which was a result of standards of beauty set by the colonial art schools began to alter the quality of production of objects of everyday life. What emerged from this meeting of cultures was a new hybrid life-style of the rulers of Bikaner, as elsewhere in India.

Personal Accessories for Men and Women
Objects traditionally used by the royal ladies of Bikaner for their beautification were a proof of their subtle personal culture of body-care to which western paraphernalia was added in the nineteenth century.

Manicure and pedicure tools having ivory, silver and mother-of-pearl handles; a set of personal accessories for men having chromium-plated and enameled handles and cases, made in England. At the bottom are assorted objects and fragments such as costume jewellery, buttons, buckles, scissors, beads, etc. Adjacent to these is a miniature make-up cabinet having Belgian mirrors and gold-embossed glass bottles for perfumes and unguents. Above these are hand-fans with gold and silver thread embroidery (one of these having a gold-plated silver handle).
Brass containers for personal belongings and above a mirror-frame having typical raised work of the Usta craftsmen of Bikaner. Next to these are ivory and sandalwood hand-fans.

Besides jewellery boxes and wood, enameled brass, ivory and lac-turnery, one sees a filigree work vase, a silver hand-fan handle and a couple of back-scratchers.

Goblets and Glasses
Imported from Europe and made of glass and cut glass, these champagne cups as well as wine, whisky and liquor glasses and a variety of bowls became popular in Bikaner at the turn of the nineteenth century. Some of the fine examples of these are shown here. A formidable quantity of such pieces were kept in the palace store for large parties.

Though India has an ancient tradition of glass making, it was only after the coming of Mughals and the British that glassware became popular and entered the arena of aristocratic daily life.

Palace Crockery
Nineteenth century India saw the rise of European dining culture and table manners. Best of crockery was imported from Europe by the princely families of Rajasthan for their daily use and for entertaining their guest.

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