Official teachers' resource for the Art Gallery of Ontario's Maharaja: The Splendor of India's Royal Courts exhibition, which is up until April 3, 2011. Learn about some of the artifacts in the exhibition, and engage in a dialogue relating ancient artworks to contemporary life.
Star of India 1934 Rolls Royce. 40/50 HP Phantom II All-Weather Cabriolet Chassis 188PY Engine ZN15 Private collection Courtesy of RM Auctions; Photo: Tom Wood
The history of this special car reflects the history of India during British imperialism. After over half a century abroad, this car will be returned to the family of the original owner after the exhibition ends at the AGO. Many works of art and artifacts in museums were taken, sometimes forcibly as trophies of war, from their original place of origin to another country.
Do you think such objects should be returned to their places of origin? Why?
In royal processions, which remained an important public display of power and status, while elephants were still used, European modes of transport such as this carriage, known as a landau, became more popular. Later, extremely valuable cars such as the Star of India would be used as well.
What kind of vehicle do you think makes a powerful impression?
Chand Bibi was a rare case for women in the ruling classes at her time, and even rarer in the general population of India in the 16th century.
Hunting or playing sports, learning to play musical instruments, going shopping or even taking a walk on your own, going to school, even reading, were not considered appropriate pursuits for girls and women.
Imagine what it would be like to not have any power over what you do, what you wear, or even who or when you marry. What makes a woman powerful?