Sir Christopher Ondaatje South Asian Gallery | Level 3

  • Sir Christopher Ondaatje South Asian Gallery.
  • The largest permanent display case in the ROM showcases fragile South Asian textiles.
  • Head of Bodhisattva (carved plaster) (detail), Kushan Period, Pakistan, 4th - 5th century AD.
  • Yakshi, Karnataka and Decca, India. Copper alloy, Chalukya Period, 8th – 9th century AD.
  • Examine how varied styles of South Asia's architecture influced the history of global design.
  • Kunti Sculpture ("Blue Lady"), 1999. Artist: Navjot Altaf.

Where tradition and modernity meet.

The history of South Asia spans more than 5,000 years, from an ancient civilization with a sophisticated visual culture and technology, to modern cities that are among the world's leading cosmopolitan centres. Though distinguished by diverse languages, religions and geographies, it's also unified by shared cultures, rituals and visual forms.

The ROM's gallery is the only one of its kind in the western world to showcase both historical artifacts and contemporary art in a shared space in a celebration of the dynamic and diverse cultures of South Asia. It also represents the growing Diaspora, including the many South Asian communities living in Canada today.

About the Gallery


350 of the best or most intriguing objects, out of an evolving collection of over 7,000 artifacts, in nine thematically organized areas including Imagining the Buddha, The Goddess, Passage to Enlightenment, Cultural Exchange, Home and the World (presenting modern and contemporary art of South Asia and its Diaspora as it pertains to contemporary issues), and more.


This gallery reflects the visual cultures of South Asia, a region that includes the countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the plateau region of Tibet in the Northeastern Himalayas.


Spans the last 5,000 years: c. 2700 BCE to the present day.

ROM Staff

Ka Bo Tsang

Research Associate - Retired

Lisa Golombek

Curator Emeritus (Islamic Art) Retired