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Ticket to animal kingdom

Updated on: 16 February,2021 09:07 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Fiona Fernandez |

As CSMVS reopens to the public from today, check out the new exhibition at the children’s museum that is an organic storyboard of humankind’s link with the natural world

Ticket to animal kingdom


You’ll be forgiven for imagining that you are in the middle of a charming little forest after you walk past the green environs of Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS, formerly Prince of Wales Museum). Over a century ago, its architect George Wittet had envisioned this while planning the crescent-shaped layout that is blessed with diverse flora, and is a haven for avian activity. It is this seamless alchemy that acts as the perfect backdrop for a new exhibition to usher the reopening of the museum. Titled, Entwined: The Relationship between Humans and Animals, it will be on display at the children’s museum for at least six months. After our hour-long walkthrough, we realise that this exhibition is bound to intrigue young minds with its organic storyboard that effortlessly transcends eras, civilisations and regions. “During the lockdown, we had received tremendous response for the Animal Chronicles virtual sessions that explored the link between animals and humans. Taking a cue from it, this exhibition will document the link from prehistoric times to now, when climate change is the buzzword. We hope these visual treasures will help them appreciate nature,” shares Vaidehi Savnal, assistant curator, international relations and in-charge, education, CSMVS. The exhibits are either originals sourced from the main galleries, or replicas, while some are previously unseen displays. From Bhimbetka’s rock-cut images of man and bull, to Persia’s connection with the eagle, Emperor Jahangir’s bizarre obsession with fauna, to fantastical beasts of mythology, it’s a fascinating joyride into the animal world.

The innovative paw mark stickers give kids a sense of wonderment as if they are stepping into a wild habitat
The innovative paw mark stickers give kids a sense of wonderment as if they are stepping into a wild habitat

At CSMVS, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Fort. time 10 am to 3 pm, all days cost Discounted tickets; Rs 50 adults; Rs 20 children (five to 15 years); Rs 40 (group of adults over 10 in a group), foreign nationals R200; photography R50 per head NOTE: The other galleries that will be open in the main building include The Natural History Gallery, The Karl J Khandalavala Gallery of Indian artefacts and The Money and Jewellery gallery, while the lawns will be made available for families to relax in. All care has been taken to ensure a safe visit, where social distancing, visitor movement, hygiene and sanitisation is followed.

The final section Fantastic Beasts looks at mythical creatures large and small, like phoenixes that captivated the imagination of humankind. A dragon exhibit from Japan is the show-stealer for its stellar craftsmanship. This fascinating piece of art has been created from  a variety of metal sourced from materials left over from battle warfare.“This flexible mega exhibit can actually be moved around in any shape whatsoever,” adds Vaidehi Savnal.

Made from lacquer and mother-of-pearl, this dish shows a monkey examining a netsuke. Hailing from Japan’s Meiji period, this humanlike monkey is depicted using objects found in a human’s daily life including mirrors, and sports spectacles. It is based on the Handscroll of Frolicking Animals and Humans, and is believed to be the earliest form of Manga-style art used in Japanese comic books and cartoons that were later carried on in Japanese animation films.