In 1988 V Daya and T H Matthews produced a book entitled 'Indian Art: a study of selected items from private collections in the Durban area.' It was published in the 'Special Publication' series of the Institute for Social and Economic Research , University of Durban-Westville, and is lavishly illustrated with both monochrome and colour photographs. The authors see the book as a preliminary step towards a more complete account of Indian art in private collections throughout South Africa.

The criteria used in choosing works for inclusion were not based on quality alone. Rather, the authors set out to illustrate the range and types of art which are considered by the collectors themselves to be of merit. This, they say; 'may not always coincide with the conventional tastes of the viewer habituated to Occidental aesthetic criteria.' Thus, the range explored is also one of taste and type -from pieces of high professional quality, some readily available in South Africa, to others which are little more than beautiful playthings, to a few works of real rarity and uniqueness.

Illustrated (above) is an example of a traditional folk toy made of light coloured tellapaniki wood and painted in bright colours. It comes from Kondapalli, in Andhra Pradesh, which produces some of the best toys in India. The elephant, adorned with beautiful coloured cloths and other body decorations, carries a canopied howdah decorated lavishly with leaves and flowers. This fine representation of one of the more spectacular sights in Indian festival processions is from the collection of Dr and Mrs V Govind. Below is an a 124cm wood carving of the Hindu deities Krsna and Vishnu represented as one. (From The Year at UDW, 1988)

INDIAN ART COLLECTIONS