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T.N. Mukharji Collection

Mukharji Collection

Image: Mukharji Collection

Source: Museum Victoria

The T.N Mukharji Collection sits within the broader Economic Botany Collection and consists of some 1000 samples of medicinal products, food substances, dyeing materials, fibres, minerals and oily substances. The collection was donated to the National Museum of Victoria in 1887 and was collected and prepared prior to this by the Bengali civil servant Trilokya Nath Mukharji (Trailokyanath Mukherjee 1847-1919). Murkharji was employed as an exhibition official and collector for the Indian Courts in Colonial exhibitions for the British Raj (1883 Amsterdam Exhibition, 1886 Colonial and Indian Exhibition and the 1888 Glasgow International Exhibition). He also produced a memoir of his time at the Indian and Colonial Exhibition in London in 1889 entitled, A Visit to Europe. Mukharji was also the assistant curator in the Art and Economics Section of the Indian Museum. Written labels on the bottles of several specimens state that the samples of raw materials categorised as medicinal products, food substances, dyeing materials, fibres, minerals and oily substances were displayed in the 1888 Centennial International Exhibition at Melbourne's Royal Exhibition Building. The economic botany specimens acquired by Museum Victoria feature prominently in Mukharji's 1883 Hand-Book of Indian Products, making the publication a significant source for interpreting the collection. For each product he gives the botanical and English common name, followed by its Bengali, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and/or Burmese names, and a brief description of its use.

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