South and Southeast Asia

The permanent exhibition comprises the sections India (including ancient Afghanistan), Sri Lanka, continental Southeast Asia and Java/ Indonesia as well as Nepal and Tibet. Its collections are among the topmost in European museums. Religious art objects from ancient times till the recent past enable our visitors to overview the 2500 years of development and changes of the Hindu and Buddhist believes and rituals against their cultural/historic backgrounds in India and the neighbouring Asian countries. Also on display are topics like "Art and religion of the Jainas" (India) and "Cham"(Vietnam).

Himalaya section

The Himalaya section presents a selection of exceptional objects pertaining to Tibetan Buddhism, showing that its influence far exceeded the borders of Tibet itself, with Bhutan, Nepal, Mongolia, as well as some regions of Northern India and China significantly affected.

Precious sculptures from the collections of the Linden-Museum and brightly coloured Thangka paintings, depicting Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, as well as tutelary deities, provide for an impressive glimpse into the pantheon of Tibetan Buddhism. Alongside the visual arts, the performing arts will also be addressed by this exhibition. Instruments from Tibet and Bhutan will be featured. Costumes and masks used for the ritual cham dance, in which Buddhist monks personify gods and other figures from Tibetan mythology, round out the overview of the arts in the context of the Buddhist temple. A central element of this exhibtion is a reconstruction of the interior of a Tibetan temple.

New presentation in the exhibition (since April 2023):

Luck and Joy for All

Terracotta Art from Ancient South Asia

Animal and human figures made of terracotta (baked clay) are among the oldest works of art known from South Asia, with some figures dating back more than 4000 years. From around 200 BC, potters in the region began to mass-produce terracotta figures using moulds. Many figures from this period represent gods, goddesses and other auspicious figures and were likely a part of the daily life of ordinary citizens. Sacred images, toys and other daily life objects made of terracotta are also used widely today.

from 3 September 2023
Veni, Vidi, Vici (I came, I saw, I conquered), 2022
Installation by L. N. Tallur

The monumental, site-specific installation by renowned contemporary artist L. N. Tallur (born 1970 in Karnataka, India) consists of terracotta roof tiles and sculptures. The artwork brings together two chapters from India's colonial past. In the mid-19th century, German-speaking missionaries from the Basel Mission came to Mangalore in southern India, where Tallur grew up and lives. To provide work for the Indian converts, they set up a roof tile factory. The goods were made from local clay using technologies and patterns imported from Europe. Around the same time, clay figures of wandering ascetics or yogis in extreme postures were made in colonial Mumbai for ethnographic presentation purposes. The British and Indian elite viewed the yogis with suspicion, often seeing them as criminals and propagators of superstition. Tallur's yogis were inspired by figures from the Bhau-Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai (founded in 1855).

Tallur sees similarities between the efforts of the missionaries - many of whom died of tropical diseases - and the yogis' quest for liberation and immortality. Both speak of the fragility of the human body and our aspiration to overcome this fragility. It is also what draws Tallur to terracotta, a material he has worked with for many years.

The installation was acquired in 2022 with funds from the Central Fund. It complements the Linden Museum's world-famous collection of terracotta art from South Asia, which ranges from sculptures more than 2000 years old to modern and contemporary works of art.

Collections online
Collections online offers you open virtual access to the holdings of the Linden Museum Stuttgart. Here you will find detailed information, interesting stories and background information on objects and cultures from all over the world.