Indian surgical instruments shaped like animals
Free Current exhibition

Ayurvedic Man: Encounters with Indian medicine

Shedding light on Wellcome’s historical collections that relate to Ayurveda and Indian medicine and tracing how health narratives have been shaped by multiple cultural encounters.

This exhibition takes its title and inspiration from the ‘Ayurvedic Man’ – an 18th-century Nepali painting depicting the organs and vessels of the male body according to classical Ayurveda. Showcasing an exquisite range of material, including Sanskrit, Persian and Tibetan manuscripts, vibrant gouache paintings, erotic manuals and animal-shaped surgical tools from our collections, the exhibition includes a new commission by artist Ranjit Kandalgaonkar reimagining the Bombay plague epidemic of 1896 and a new film by Nilanjan Bhattacharya centred around two contemporary medicinal practitioners from India.

Ayurveda has been associated for thousands of years with a range of medical practices rooted in South Asia. Widely practised today in India and beyond, it has been transformed during exchanges with biomedicine and the global market of wellness. As Ayurveda evolves and objects are dispersed across museums, several questions remain: Who owns medical heritage? And what is the contemporary relevance of collections built from colonial encounters? 

Ranjit Kandalgaonkar’s commission follows from his residency at Gasworks, London, which was supported by the Charles Wallace India Trust and Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation.


Galleries
Day Times
Monday Galleries closed
Tuesday 10:00 - 18:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 18:00
Thursday 10:00 - 22:00
Friday 10:00 - 18:00
Saturday 10:00 - 18:00
Sunday 11:00 - 18:00
Library
Day Times
Monday 10:00 - 18:00
Tuesday 10:00 - 18:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 18:00
Thursday 10:00 - 20:00
Friday 10:00 - 18:00
Saturday 10:00 - 16:00
Sunday Library closed
Restaurant
Day Times
Monday Restaurant closed
Tuesday 11:00 - 18:00
Wednesday 11:00 - 18:00
Thursday 11:00 - 22:00
Friday 11:00 - 18:00
Saturday 11:00 - 18:00
Sunday 11:00 - 18:00
Café
Day Times
Monday 08:30 - 18:00
Tuesday 08:30 - 18:00
Wednesday 08:30 - 18:00
Thursday 08:30 - 22:00
Friday 08:30 - 18:00
Saturday 09:30 - 18:00
Sunday 10:30 - 18:00
Shop
Day Times
Monday 09:00 - 18:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 18:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 18:00
Thursday 09:00 - 22:00
Friday 09:00 - 18:00
Saturday 10:00 - 18:00
Sunday 11:00 - 18:00

Access information

This exhibition is on level 1

Step-free access is available to all floors of the building

Large print guides, transcripts and magnifiers are available in the gallery


Exhibition highlights

Drawing the Bombay Plague

Workshops, talks and tours


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