Ancient Hindu statue comes to the Museum of Oxford

Published: Wednesday, 23rd September 2015

The Museum of Oxford is set to host an 800-year-old statue of the Hindu god Ganesha.

The beautiful sculpture, which originates from Odisha in eastern India and is on loan from the British Museum, will be on display from Monday (28 September).

It will form the centrepiece to the new 40 Years, 40 Objects exhibition at the Museum of Oxford, in Town Hall.

Earlier this year the museum invited members of the public to donate items of significance from their own lives to the exhibition. Forty of these objects have been chosen to tell the story of Oxford over the last 40 years.

Members of Oxford’s 5,000-strong Hindu community have donated their own Ganesha statues to sit alongside the British Museum’s statue.

The statue is currently touring seven museums, including Bournemouth, Bradford, Birmingham, London and County Durham, to encourage people from across the country to engage with the British Museum’s collections and to explore the culture and faith of the diverse communities of the UK.

The tour coincides with Ganesha Chaturthi, a Hindu festival celebrated in honour of Ganesha, which took place on 17 September.

Antonia Harland-Lang, who worked with members of the community to curate the 40 Years, 40 Objects exhibition, said: “We are really excited to be working with the British Museum and museums across the country to make sure this incredible object gets to as wide an audience as possible.

“It is great to display Ganesha in an exhibition that aims to provide alternative and exciting views of Oxford and includes objects which have been chosen by local people to reflect their local community.”

Councillor Christine Simm, Oxford City Council Board Member for Culture and Communities, said: “This beautiful statue of Ganesha is so old that it dates from the time of Mongolian empire – and now we get to see it up close in Oxford. This is a real treat.

“But what is even better is that city’s Hindu population have donated some of their own Ganesha statues to sit alongside the British Museum’s, showing just how wonderful and diverse our community is here in Oxford.”

The Ganesh statue will be on display at the Museum of Oxford until Saturday 9 January 2016.