Bhopal:Tuesday, July 8:Evolution of metal art dates back to extinct Mohan-Jo-Daro and Harappa civilization. But it came to full bloom during the reign of Parmar rulers of Malwa region in medieval age. This period holds special significance for its bronze idols. The era of Parmar dynasty was between ninth and tenth centuries A.D. Though Parmar rulers were Shaivites, they respected other sects as well which is offset by construction of Jain temples at Bhojpur, Gyaraspur and other places.
A farmer found rare bronze idols while ploughing his field at Bhopawar village in Dhar district. The rare collection of 87 bronze idols comprises idols of all the 24 Jain Tirthankars right from Bhagwan Adinath to Bhagwan Mahavir. The idols produced by casting method are unparalleled as far as body proportions and face expressions are concerned. The idols show various Jain deities in meditation mode. Apart from Tirthankars, idols of Yaksh, Yakshini, Ambika, Matang and Shrut Devi have also been discovered. All the idols date back to 10th-11th centuries.
Apart from these idols, other metal idols have also been preserved at the State Museum here. Most of these idols of different dynasties and places are unmatched. These collections belong to Holkars, Scindias, Nepal dynasties and Bhopal state etc. These idols are from 12th to 20th centuries A.D. The Parmar-age idols of Lekhyukta, Bhairav, Laxmi, Narsimha, Radha-Krishna, Mahishasur Mardini, Vishnu and Rajsi Shri and statues of animals kept at the museum also deserve special mention.
The collection of Nawab of Bhopal, which consists of statues either purchased or received by him as gifts is also very unique. It consists of such rare statues as Cambodian lion, Roman soldier, Chinese king etc. The collection has statues collected from Europe, China, Japan, Turkey, Tibet and almost all the parts of India. Bhopal-based State Museum is among the best museums across the country. It has 16 subject-wise galleries. The museum remains open for visitors everyday from 2 to 9 pm except for its weekly holiday on Mondays.