Heras Institute Museum is situated inside the Heras Institute of Indian History and Culture at St Xavierís College, in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Established in 1926, the museum holds several valuable and interesting artifacts not only from India but also from West Asia. Heras Institute Museum is the only one of its kind in India to possess Mesopotamian cylindrical seals of various periods ranging from the 3rd millennium BC to the Assyrian period. Heras Institute Museum was recently renovated with the assistance of the Prince of Wales Museum of Western India and of Philips India.
Heras Institute Museumís Indian section features an outstanding collection of sculptures from Gandhara, Mathura and the Gupta schools. It depicts various scenes from the life of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas. Most noteworthy among the exhibits is the Ambapali (Amrapali), the well-known courtesan of Vaishali, offering a mango-grove to the Buddha.
The museum features some fine pieces of Pala art. Among these few notable sculptures is the 9th century stupa from Nalanda, with small niches within which are exquisitely carved images of some major events of the life of Buddha. The brass and bronze images and statues of major religious groups including the Saivite, Vaishnavite, Jaina and Buddhist constitute a valuable part of the museum. Hindu ritual vessels and Nepali artifacts are also on display.
Heras Institute Museum has a small collection of miniature paintings, of which a profusely illustrated manuscript of Madhumalati is an exquisite piece of the Kotah style which dates back to 1771 AD. The manuscript bears an illustration on each page which helps as a good document of the Kotah style of that period. The collection also includes a number of beautiful terracottas from the Graeco-Parthian period.
The Indian Christian Art section features paintings illustrating themes from the Bible and the history of the Jesuit missions in India. The work of Angelo da Fonseca and other artists of the middle of the present century are also showcased. Besides these, some wooden and ivory images, mainly from Goa, are also on display.
The rare book and map collection preserves the only known extant copy of the first book printed in Bombay, H Becher's Remarks and Occurences, 1793.
Heras Institute Museum is open from 11:30 to 12:30 hrs and 15:00 to 17:00 hrs on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. The museum can be visited on other days by previous appointment. The museum remains closed on Sundays and government holidays.