'Special Collections' include thematically organised image catalogues culled from the CA&A archives. Also, it comprises of photograph collections of global contributors who have associated with the CA&A for sharing their images on the VMIS.
Padmabhushan Professor Madhusudan Amilal Dhaky, internationally renowned historian of temple art and architecture, was Director Emeritus, Center for Art and Archaeology, the American Institute of Indian Studies, Gurugram. Dhaky was born on 31st July 1927 in Porbandar, Gujarat. He graduated in science but his interest lied in Indology. He changed his profession frequently after graduation, from banking to agriculture, but finally settled in the field of archaeology after joining the Gujarat Directorate of Archaeology and Museums as Director. Throughout, while in various professions, exploring and documenting temple architecture was his favourite pursuit. His image archives were formed between 1950-1966, before and during his tenure with the archaeology department. He joined American Academy of Benares (AAB) in 1966 which was later renamed as the Center for Art and Archaeology and merged with the American Institute of Indian Studies. Some of his negatives are marked with the year 1972, which indicates he continued photography for a while even during his service with the AIIS when a documentation team was at his disposal. While working with the AIIS he guided documentation and research, formulated and initiated the monumental project, Encyclopaedia of Indian Temple Architecture, fourteen volumes of which are published by the AIIS. The largest section of the AIIS, CA&A Photo-archives documenting monuments and museum objects was created under the direction of M.A. Dhaky. The world of Indian art history lost one of its greatest scholars with the passing away of Dhaky on 29th July 2016. He had gifted all his images to the CA&A during his lifetime and Snehal Shah, architect who is the caretaker of Dhaky’s belongings, shared his negatives with the Center after his demise.
The catalogue consists of images of musical instruments depicted in ancient Indian sculptures and paintings. These images are culled from the massive repertoire of the Center for Art and Archaeology’s Photo-archives which houses meticulously documented photographs of monuments and related sculptures, paintings and coins. While the collection includes a wide variety of musical instruments, it is majorly classified in three broad categories namely-Wind, Percussion and Stringed instruments. It not only represents multiple instrument types, it also gives an insight into regional variations as the collection covers examples from all regions of the Indian subcontinent including some from South Asian countries also such as Indonesia and Sri Lanka.