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The ROM Presents an Exhibition of Rare Treasures from India’s Desert Kingdom

Landmark exhibition featuring a royal collection from Jodhpur comes to Canada for the first time


In March 2019, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) brings visitors an exhibition of rarely-seen royal treasures from Marwar-Jodhpur, one of the largest former princely states in India. The ROM will be the final North American destination and the exclusive Canadian venue for Treasures of a Desert Kingdom: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India. This exhibition, organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, with the collaboration of the Mehrangarh Museum Trust, India, will be on display from March 9 to September 2, 2019.

“As a leading centre for scholarship and expertise in South Asian art and culture, we are delighted to give visitors the unprecedented opportunity to explore a part of India’s rich cultural history that has rarely been seen,” says Josh Basseches, ROM Director & CEO. “This landmark exhibition will not only captivate audiences, it will also offer a deeper understanding of India’s artistic heritage and its continuing influence today.” 

Treasures of a Desert Kingdom features nearly 250 artworks and objects from the kingdom of Marwar-Jodhpur, located in the northwestern state of Rajasthan. The exhibition traces the kingdom’s cultural history as it was continually reshaped by cross-cultural encounters.

Lavishly-made ceremonial objects, opulent jewellery, textiles and tapestries, palace furnishings, architectural treasures, and a monumental 17th-century court tent showcase the history of Marwar-Jodhpur and the Rathore dynasty that ruled the region for more than 700 years. Drawn primarily from the collections of the Mehrangarh Museum Trust and the private collections of the royal family of Jodhpur, the exhibition marks the first time that most of these treasures have been seen beyond the palace walls.

Dr. Deepali Dewan, the exhibition’s coordinating curator and ROM’s Dan Mishra Curator of South Asian Art & Culture, says: “This exhibition will be a special experience because most of the treasures are coming from Jodhpur itself. Treasures of a Desert Kingdom tells the story of an incredibly dynamic, cosmopolitan, and influential kingdom that saw art and culture as a critical aspect of rule. Jodhpur flourished, despite the odds of being in the middle of a desert, because they made strategic alliances, opened their borders, and allowed for a diverse culture. These are lessons still relevant today. This enthralling presentation demystifies our notions of life at the royal court, while highlighting India’s multifaceted past and its contemporary cultural landscape. There will be something familiar and something surprising for everyone.”

On view in Garfield Weston Exhibition HallTreasures of a Desert Kingdom: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India explores numerous thought-provoking themes, including the cross-pollination of new ideas through art and culture; the strong influence of women in the royal court; the importance of royal patronage; and the powerful role of art as tools of diplomacy.

The ROM engagement follows the exhibition’s run at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Seattle Arts Museum.

Treasures of a Desert Kingdom: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India is a separately ticketed exhibition. ROM Members enjoy free admission and exclusive opportunities to experience ROM exhibitions and programs. For ticket information, visit:

For ROM Membership details, visit:

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