It’s a watershed moment in local Indian culture. The Asian Art Museum’s opening-night party for “Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Court” on Oct. 19 was the largest in its history, with 650 guests paying up to $2,500 per ticket for dinner and a preview of the exhibition.
Although Silicon Valley is a font of technology and may have the largest population of Indians outside of India (there are India studies chairs at UC Berkeley and a collection at UC Santa Cruz of films by Satyajit Ray, the Fellini of India), the Bay Area has not been a font of information about Indian art and history – until now. The traveling exhibition, which premiered at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in 2009 and showcases the lifestyles of maharajas, or grand kings, through paintings, furniture, jewelry, apparel, weapons and other objects, runs here through April 8.
Chaired by Pamela Joyner, tech entrepreneur Kumar Malavalli and Tatiana Sorokko, the event drew Indian Princess Asha Raje Gaekwad ; Amin Jaffer, international director of Asian Art at Christie’s, who co-curated the V&A show; Vivek Ranadivé, CEO of Tibco Software; Gateway Computer co-founder Ted Waitt and his wife, Michele Merkin Waitt; and fashion designer Naeem Khan and his wife, Ranjana, who showed off his elegant gowns at a lunch and trunk show the day before at Neiman Marcus on Union Square.