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The ‘Hedges’ Vishnu: a divine Hindu sculpture

Museums are spaces where cultural and natural heritage artefacts are stored and presented in story-telling narratives that attract visitors for learning and enjoyment. Who creates these narratives, however, and what are the hidden and invisible narratives not told?

In this story by Naima Mokhtar we learn of the ‘unseen odyssey’ of the divine Hindu sculpture sometimes called ‘The Hedges Vishnu’: originally from Sagar Island in the Bay of Bengal and now on display in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

Naima reminds us of the conditions and context in which this object was brought back to the Western world, and the impact of its loss for previous owners and their descendants. Her selection of a link to the work of S Vijay Kumar and the Indian Pride Project, entitled Bringing Our Gods Home, is especially thought-provoking.

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