Pitt Rivers Museum: A treasure​ house

I was fascinated and overwhelmed the moment I entered this place. I had never visited a museum of natural history before and I had no idea what was at the back of the dinosaurs’ skeletons.

The room behind the section of the natural museum has a feel of another world. But which world I cannot say as the whole world seems to be on the three floors of that building. It was too much to take in and I couldn’t decide where to go and what to see. I wanted to stand in front of every object there and know about it. “This room is all about people,” said Mary.


Subhadra, Jagannath’s (Lord Krishna) and Baldev’s sister. These deities are from a place called Puri in Odisha in South India


There were skulls of great Chinese warriors and masks from Japan and armours made of coconut fibre and exquisite jewellery and weapons and shields. I was going about the ground floor carrying feelings of awe and indecisiveness together when an announcement of a free tour was made.

It was a half an hour tour where Mary introduced us to a few things on each floor. The first thing that she introduced us to were a section of masks from Japan. She told us that these masks were used in the theatres there. While she was explaining to us about the different masks she told us about the significance of the golden eyeballs, that how they were used to represent gods and demons. I remember her saying something that struck me at that moment and something that I will never forget was- “…there can be a beautiful girl wearing this mask [referring to the mask of a demon]. She could be jealous and envious inside…”


This was the casket with the Japanese masks but the three masks above in this picture are from Spiti, Himachal, India. These masks are Buddhist in nature



Then she showed us the 2nd floor which was filled with weapons.  All sorts of guns and rifles. The 1st floor had armours and shields.


This is a chief moaner’s dress is from Tahiti. It was exchanged for some red feathers. It was given to this museum, along with a lot of other things, by a pair of explorers who were with Capt. James Cook. They also gave them a handwritten catalogue with each and everything recorded in it.


After this excellent tour, I went and bought my own magical object a personal worry doll to worry on my behalf.