Ornamenting the Ordinary: Crafts of South Asia


Discover the beauty of ornament . . .

Learn about the artistic styles, craftsmanship and craft traditions of South Asia's many culturally diverse regions. This newest addition to the roster of travelling exhibitions also explores the interaction between South Asia and the rest of the world, and how this interaction affected the craft industries.

The exhibition is presented in English and French and is divided into six sections. Ornamenting the Ordinary is accompanied by an exciting interactive school case which explores the ancient Indus Valley civilization, images of gods and goddesses, the architecture of the Taj Mahal, cotton-dyeing techniques and more. Visitors learn how to read visual symbols, understand Asian religions, and recognize traditional art forms that are still around in our everyday environments. The school case contains activity centres, specimens, teachers’ notes, as well as a complimentary DVD on the arts of South Asia that your venue can keep for future use.

Topics covered:

  • The use and meaning of decoration on everyday objects
  • The significance of light in South Asian art
  • The art of calligraphy
  • Honourary arms and armour and the courtly arts
  • Cotton, the luxury textile trade, and the technique of block printing
  • Art of food, spices, and Ayurveda
Grade Curriculum Relevance



Grade 1-8

Visual Arts
Drama and Dance
Oral and Visual Communication

Grade 9-12

Visual Arts
Introduction to Anthropology, Psychology and Sociology: Self and Others, Social Structures and Institutions, Challenge and Change in Society, Social Change
World Religions: Beliefs and Daily Life


  • 6 display cases 183 x 77 x 66 cm (72 x 30 x 26 in)
  • 3 shipping crates 106 x 201 x 76 cm (41.75 x 79 x 29.75 in) containing 13 text panels

Space required: Approximately 75 square metres (800 square feet)

Weight: 771 kg (1700 lbs)

Supplementary materials
The exhibition is complemented by an introductory video and an educational kit containing hands-on objects, student activity booklets, teachers' notes, class worksheets and other resource material. The educational kit also contains an extended video, which venues are free to keep.

Booking period: 8 weeks

Fee for 2014 rentals: $1600 plus shipping cost