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Streetparade of the gods

BRONZE WORKS OF ART FROM THE VILLAGES OF INDIA
  • schenkungen_312px.jpg

    Figure of a goddess
    India, Bastar region, 20th century
    Copper alloy, height: 25 cm
    Museum Rietberg
    Acquisition from the estate of Gabriele Louise Aino Schnetzer
    © Museum Rietberg

  • The Zehnder, Magnenat Ferguson and Kaufmann donations

    In 2008 the Museum Rietberg received a donation of more than one hundred tribal bronzes from India. The donors, Jean-Pierre Zehnder and his wife Dorothea, can look back on a forty-year diplomatic career in Europe (Paris, London, Brussels) and overseas. Initially a personal employee with Ambassador Lindt, then ICRC High Commissioner during the Biafran War, Jean-Pierre Zehnder was appointed Swiss ambassador to Zaire, Congo and the Central African Republic in 1984. From 1989 to 1995 he was ambassador to India, where he acquired his collection. During that time the second donor, Janine Magnenat Ferguson, was also working at the Swiss Embassy in New Delhi. In 2009 she donated eight tribal bronzes to the Museum.

    In 2010 another important donation of 93 Indian tribal bronzes was made to the Museum by Hans and Heidi Kaufmann. Having spent long periods in Africa and South America, Hans Kaufmann, who was also a diplomat, arrived in India in 1986. He was the commercial attaché to the Austrian Embassy in New Delhi until 1993. During their time in India, Hans and Heidi Kaufmann studied the people as well as the art and culture of India, and acquired a selection of works of folk and tribal art.

    All donors were apparently drawn to these wonderful figurines with their remarkable detailing, skilled artisanship and unusual aesthetics. Another thing they have in common was their decision to generously donate their collections to the Museum Rietberg so that they would be preserved and made accessible to the public. With this exhibition, which will put on display one of the most beautiful collections in Europe of bronzes from the Bastar region, the Museum would like to invite its visitors to celebrate this important addition to its collections.

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