MUSA Collections Centre: Object of the Month!


In the MUSA Collections Centre, July’s ‘Object of the Month’ is a collection of Indian paintings on glass that depict the Hindu deities Durga, Krishna, Luiga, Brahma, Shiva, Gaja Lakshmi, Vishnu, Ganesh and Hanuman.


In the image above you can see the deity Shiva and his consort Parvati seated on his vehicle or ‘vahana’ and the bull Nandi.

The Indian glass paintings were gifted to the University by Reverend Clifford Bell who was born in Kennoway, Fife, in 1832.  He was educated at the University of St Andrews.  From 1860 to 1874 he was chaplain of St Andrews Church in Madras in India. Reverend Bell may have collected these paintings during this period.
In the image to the left, you can see the deity, Gaja Lakshmi, with two white elephants.

It is thought that these paintings were made in the 1800s in southern India, possibly Tanjore.

In the image to the right, you can see the four-headed deity, Brahma, seated on his vehicle, which is a goose (hamsa).

The glass paintings are very delicate and we have to be very careful when handling them!

These beautiful objects have inspired upcoming ‘Storytelling in the Store’ sessions and a dance workshop on Wednesday 6 July as part of the MUSA Summer Programme for families. In the MUSA Collections Centre, a Hindu-themed ‘Stories in the Store’ session will be taking place from 11am-12 noon for children aged 5-8 years accompanied by an adult. A ‘Stories in the Store’ session for children aged 9-12 years will take place in the MUSA Collections Centre from 1.30-3.45pm. This will be followed by an energetic dance workshop in MUSA: Museum of the University of St Andrews!

These events are free but pre-booking is essential as spaces are limited. If you would like to find out more about these events or book a place, please contact Matt Sheard, Curatorial Trainee (Learning and Access) on tel: 01334 461 663, email:

ClaireProject Officer (Stores)