" 'Sikhs: Legacy of the Punjab'' Opens July 24 at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History"
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 20, 2004--The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History is celebrating the opening of a new exhibition, "Sikhs: Legacy of the Punjab," on July 24. The exhibition presents more than 100 pieces of Sikh artwork and artifacts produced from the 18th century to the present, including miniature paintings; arms and armor; traditional textiles and dress; coins; musical instruments; jewelry; sacred texts; and modern works of art. It also includes a scale model of the Darbar Sahib (commonly referred to as the "Golden Temple"), a Sikh sacred space at Amritsar, India. Many of these objects are on loan from private collections and will be on public display for the first time.
The exhibition, on view indefinitely, highlights the culture and history of the Sikhs, a people originally from the Punjab region (in modern-day northern India and Pakistan) whose religious, cultural, and artistic traditions have expanded with Sikh migrations around the world. Sikhism was founded about 500 years ago and today has 22 million followers worldwide.
"This Smithsonian initiative to help preserve and celebrate Sikh heritage comes at a crucial time," says Paul Michael Taylor, director of the museum's Sikh Heritage Project and curator of Asian, European and Middle Eastern Ethnology at the Smithsonian. "Many Sikhs describe their religion as one that draws from both Islam and Hinduism, and they feel that their presence in these neighboring countries contributes to peace between them."
The fourth annual "Sikh Heritage Lectures," focusing on Sikh cultural history, will be held on Saturday, July 24 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the museum's Baird Auditorium. All programs are free and open to the public.
The Smithsonian's Sikh Heritage Project, launched in 2000, was established "to support acquisition, conservation / restoration, and exhibition of Sikh collections, to support research on the heritage of the Sikhs, and to support other Sikh cultural activities at the Smithsonian Institution." The Sikh Heritage Project's first Sikh Heritage Fund Lectures were held at the National Museum of Natural History in August 2001.