Established in 1949, A Journey through History of
Subject: Archeology, history, manuscripts,
historical records, numismatics and ethnology
At the entrance of the gallery, large relief map
of vast territory of South-Western Asia shows
routes that linked various regions. Inside the
gallery is chronologically placed material from
Stone Age, village cultures of Baluchistan and the
great Indus Valley Civilization, which flourished
more than a millennium from 2500 BC, influencing
an area four times that of ancient Sumer. Harappa
and Moenjodaro are now known as twin capital of
this vast urban civilization.
What surprises the modern mind is careful town
planning that went into building up Moenjodaro.
The carefully laid-out streets, well-aligned
houses, the efficient water-supply and drainage
system and rectangular blocks pre-suppose the rule
of well-established and strong civil authority
enforcing strict laws.
Charred remains of wheat and other cereals coupled
with drawings of certain animals and fish indicate
the intake of wholesome diet by people of the
region. Mystery still shrouds the seal found in
twin capitals and pictographic script still
remains to be deciphered to unravel many unknown
facts about the ancient inhabitants of Indus
Humped and short-horned bulls, elephants, wild
boars, tigers, rhinoceros engraved on the seals
tell of their existence in that early
civilization, just as clay and faience, models of
dogs, ducks, squirrels, doves, parrots and
peacocks that have been unearthed.
The creativity and aesthetic sense of the people
of Indus Valley Civilization are evidenced in
their use and design of beautiful jewelry. The
original bust of King Priest that is kept in glass
case in the Museum testifies to the fact that both
men and women wore ornaments made of semi-precious
stones, gold, silver and bronze.
Household objects, pottery, needles, awls, axes,
saws, sickles, knives, locks and fishing hooks are
encased in glass window. Generally these objects
went into the grave with their owners and custom
of burial was conventional practice among the
people of Indus Valley Civilization.
Diorama near the Eastern side of the gallery
depicts Moenjodaro waking to the day's business.
One sees double-storied buildings, porters loading
cotton on boats ready to set sail on Indus, potter
and carter at work and mandarins on the move.
Outside the Buddhist gallery, a show-case display
objects like terracotta figures, copper utensils,
iron implements which furnish yet another proof of
their maker's creativity and artistic skill. They
were the people who inhabited the vicinity of
modern Taxila, remains of ancient Gandhara region
in North-west of West Pakistan.
In Gandhara Art Buddhist legends dominate. Its
subject matter principally relates to the study of
Buddha, representing his conception, childhood,
marriage, renunciation, enlightenment, preaching
and death. The statues of Buddha, found in Taxila,
depict various ways of posture and meditation.
Before his enlightenment , he was called Boddhisattava.
At that stage, he is shown as Raja
(king), wearing ostentatious robes and jewelry. As
Buddha, he is depicted in simple robes with serene
face and a halo. A view of Buddha heads reveals
traces of Greek influence, as do some other
statues, found in this section of Museum,
reminding one of the image of Hercules or some
other Greek mythological figures.
Non-Buddhist deities also occur in Gandhara art.
Of these, the popular ones are "Indra",
and the thunderbolt carrier "Vajrapani".
Toilet trays with embossed or carved legendary
romantic scenes of Greek and Roman mythology are
also seen on the walls.
Among Northern wall are dioramic panels depicting
life-story of Buddha, arranged in series. Along
Southern side are other specimens of stucco and
terracotta figures and representation of Buddhist
monastery at Takht-i-Bahi shows the living
quarters of Buddhist monks and quadrangle of
worship and prayers, while a tall stupa towers
over the scene.
Covered passage, leads to the next gallery,
displays gold ornaments and jewelry. The
workmanship on these objects proves the high
degree of advancement reached by Gandhara people.
Next section displays Hindu sculptural art, which
flourished in both East and West Pakistan, from
6th to 11th century AD. With few exceptions,
smoothly finished and minutely detailed sculptures
are in fine-grained, dark-colored basalt from East
Pakistan. Main figures here are those of "Shiva",
Sun-God and "Vishnu".
Sculptures for West Pakistan include two fine
examples of brass statues of "Rama"
obtained from Tharparkar in Sind. Marble and
wooden carving from Hindu Temples add to the
exquisite craftsmanship and beauty found in this
In Southern wing of the first floor is situated
Muslim gallery. There are arms, armors, ceramics,
brass and metal wares, scientific instruments and
specimens of Buwayhid textiles, woven in
contrasting colors of brown, blue or black with
buff white. The most important object is Mohammad
bin Qasim's siege of Debal in 711 AD. Arab army,
equipped with large, wheeled catapults capable of
throwing heavy stone missiles across long
distances, are shown here. It was this conquest
which ushered in 1000 years of Muslim rule in the
subcontinent, a sequel of which is the creation of
From Bhambore, about 40 miles from Karachi, have
been excavated the earliest remain of Islamic
culture of Pakistan. A number of copper coins of Umayyad
period have been found along with specimens of
pottery made in Syria, during that period. Those
are unglazed, white, thin-textured and molded in
relief with "Kufic" inscription and
floral-geometric patterns. Glazed pottery vessels,
drug up from the same area, show Persian
influence, which became more pronounced in the
specimens recovered from upper levels.
Glass articles show high quality of craftsmanship
and technique, known to have existed in Syria, in
early Islamic period. Ceramic ware objects with
artistic carving were also popular in Muslim
world, so that they gave rise to the "cut glass"
school in Iran. All the phases in the development
of glass ware by Muslims are represented in the
Metal ware with floral decorations from
subcontinent and Central Asia is also on display.
Some of the silver inlaid brasses in Seljuk style
are among the most beautiful in the world. Art of
metal decoration was developed in individual and
finer style under the patronage of Mongol in
On the second floor of Museum, there is fantastic
display of Muslim calligraphy. Angular "Kufic"
and cursive "Naskh" are the early forms
used during the first century in Islamic
architecture, in copies of Koran and in textile
and pottery, written in vertical strokes.
Miniature painting of portraits of Mongol
emperors, queens and princes, who patronized the
art, also adorn the gallery. A number of these
paintings depict hunting, court and romantic
scenes. In these miniatures, Persian delicacy of
detail and linear grace blend with the
characteristic Indian palette of varied greens,
glowing reds and oranges.
Numismatics Section of National Museum stored a
large number of coins from the earliest punch
marked pieces to 19th century. A few enlarged
models of gold coins, among these, the one found
in Banbhore, bearing the name of Abbasid Caliph,
Wasiq Billah, minted in Egypt in 884 AD.
Ethnological gallery, on its western side, shows
representative collection of the living culture of
various tribal, semi-tribal and part of the rural
population, living in different regions of