KARACHI: Sindh’s culture department found what seemed like its treasure trove on Tuesday.
The department put on display the items found in two boxes, which included some ivory items, old Chinaware broken bowl, a small hand fan, rosewater sprinkler, two wooden incense holders and a few terracotta pieces.
Sharing details about these pieces, culture secretary Ghulam Akbar Laghari said the items were unearthed from two wooden boxes, which were randomly opened up by the associates of his department on Tuesday after finding that ‘no legal binding or framework could prevent’ them from opening the boxes.
“These items were at one time a part of the Victoria and Albert Museum, now the Supreme Court Registry,” he said. “These boxes travelled from Karachi initially to Lahore and were sent back to Karachi but were never really opened up by anyone from the federal government when the National Museum was under their jurisdiction. There are 30 more boxes that haven’t been touched since 1993.”
Laghari has plans to open these other boxes as well. “[I want to] conserve besides displaying these findings [and establish] a new gallery where the artefacts will be placed.”
But which era do they define and which region did they come from? According to Laghari, the items on display are from Hala. Interestingly, the secretary is also from Hala. “Personally, I believe these things belong to Hala and are not more than over 100 years old,” he said. “These jewellery boxes are so much like from my hometown … as if belonging to them.”
Laghari, however, could not attribute any particular financial worth to the items on display. “These must be old but we can’t add an exact figure to these. However, it’s a shining star of an era gone by.”
According to the curator of the National Museum of Pakistan, Muhammad Shah Bukhari, the Victoria and Albert Museum closed at the time of the birth of Pakistan. “Seventy-two boxes were sealed and sent to Lahore,” he said. “Some got opened up a few years back and items belonging to pre-historic period, Gandhara period and Islamic period were found in them. We plan to open more boxes now in a couple of days.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 5th, 2017.