Album - Page03


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The Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library, founded in 1891, is rightly known all over the world for its unique collection of about 21,000 manuscripts including some very rare ones, 2000 paintings of different Indian Schools, 250,000 printed books on a wide range of subjects and 3000 letters of eminent personages. At the same time, it also has a modest collection of antiques and art objects, numbering about 250.

            This collection of antiques mainly consists of the objects belonging to the Khuda Bakhsh family. Some additions, mainly in the form of gifts and a few through purchases have further enriched the collection. These antiques are of metal, glass, porcelain, stone, clay, shell and wood. They cover a wide range such as astronomical instruments, mechanical clocks, weapons, medallions, commemorative gifts, badges, ring-seals, decorative boxes, pottery, crockery inscribed with Quranic verses or decorated with Chinese and Japanese art, engraved pen-holders and inkpots, etc. Over the last four years, these antiques have been duly catalogued and a Register of Antiques offering a complete overview of these articles is to be published by the end of this year. The present album offers a sample view of the most important of these antiques: the scientific instruments.

            The Khuda Bakhsh Library has 12 scientific instruments preserved in its collection of antiques. The most numerous are astrolabes, followed by sun-dials, a celestial globe, a quadrant-cum-nocturnal or Roznuma-o-Shabnuma and a surgical forceps. These are undoubtedly an important source for the study and reconstruction of science and technology in the pre-Modern period. They also provide an insight into the development of sciences like astronomy, surgery and geography in pre-Modern India.




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