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This magnificent historical museum was established in 1857. This beautiful architectural wonder was designed by Mr Robert Chisholm, the Architect of the Government. This structure was established by Maharaja, Uthram Thirunal around 135 years ago. It is one of the oldest buildings of India and a very important landmark of the city. The architectural style of the museum is Gothic and minarets. The old building was not strong enough to display many objects. It was torn down and the current, Napier museum, was built and opened to the public in 1880. This Napier museum is named after Lord Napier. He was the former Governor-General of Madras. The museum is situated in the heart of the Thiruvananthapuram city.
In Kerala, image-making is very popular since ancient times. The art has drawn inspiration from the religious faith of the people. Shiva, Vishnu, Parvathy and Lakshmi in several forms have been given shape in the beautiful image of bronze and copper whose details are modelled on rules laid in the ‘Silpashastras’. This art in Kerala dates back to 9th Century.
Kerela is also very popular for wood carvings and stone sculptures. Most of the wood carvings are seen on ‘Namaskara Mandapas’. The name of the wood used for making wood carving is ‘Kumble’ which is very soft and very easy to carve. The main attraction of wood carving in this gallery is the royal dressing table, a multi-chambered jewellery box and a lot more.
The art of Ivory carving has been practised in India since medieval times. The ivory carving is purely a manual work and is practised in India with the simplest of tools like knife and chisels. The Ivory carvers created new designs of exquisite beauty and delicacy from excellent structures of Gods of the Hindu pantheon to simple utility items.
The museum’s collection includes 2nd century ‘Gandhara’ sculpture to 18th century Kerala sculptures. The temples of Kerala exhibit diverse influences that are the storehouse of exquisite stone sculptures. The sculptures of god are among the typical specimens of temple figures. The earliest stone sculptures of Kerala date back to the 8th Century AD. Stone was the most used materials for the work of artistic brilliance due to its nature of preserving.
Napier Museum, Thiruvananthapuram has an exquisite collection of ancient, medieval and modern South Indian coins, of which Satavahana coins (100 BC-249 AD), Chera coins, Vijayanagara coins and Sivaganga coins are the utmost importance. Apart from these coins, there is a collection of foreign coinage which include Roman, Dutch, Persian, Chinese and Turkey coins.
Timings are subject to change. You will be automatically booked into a time slot as part of the check out process. Please visit the official website to confirm the time slot before your visit.