Imma Ramos

South Asia
Department: Asia 


Dr Imma Ramos is responsible for the curation, presentation, development and research of the medieval to modern South Asian and Himalayan collections at the British Museum. This includes sculpture, painting, works on paper, decorative arts and photography.

Her research interests revolve around the relationship between religion, politics and gender in South Asian visual culture. She has special interests in Tantric material from India, Nepal and Tibet (8th century onwards), Rajput and Mughal painting (17th-19th century), and the colonial and postcolonial periods (18th-20th century). She is currently the coordinator for the Asahi Shimbun Room 3 Displays.

Imma completed her BA, MPhil and PhD at the University of Cambridge. Her first book, Pilgrimage and Politics in Colonial Bengal: The Myth of the Goddess Sati (2017), examined an ancient network of pilgrimage sites dedicated to Sati, which provided the basis for an emergent territorial consciousness during the late 19th century.

Previous projects

Curator of the medieval to modern South Asia displays in the new Sir Joseph Hotung Gallery of China and South Asia (opened November 2017), including sections dedicated to the Pala and Eastern Ganga periods in eastern India; the history of Tibet and Nepal, and the Sultanate, Mughal, colonial and postcolonial periods.

Curator of the Asahi Shimbun Room 3 display, Virtual pilgrimage: reimagining India’s Great Shrine of Amaravati (August – October 2017). For more information on the display, see: Ramos, I. ‘The Power of Patronage at the Great Shrine of Amaravati,’ The British Museum Magazine (Summer/Autumn edition 2017), pp.30-31.

Curator of the British Museum UK Spotlight Tour, Music of Courtly India (May – June 2017, Derby Museum & Art Gallery; June – August, Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery), featuring Rajput and Mughal ragamala paintings and an ivory sarinda from the Deccan.

Co-coordinator of the Global, Local & Imperial Histories Museum Research Group (2016-18) and co-organiser of the Exhibiting the Experience of Empire symposium (March 2018) exploring how experiences of European imperialism, with a focus on the British Empire, can be researched and exhibited through objects.

Selected publications

Ramos, I. Pilgrimage and Politics in Colonial Bengal: The Myth of the Goddess Sati (Routledge: London & New York, 2017).

Ramos, I. ‘The Visual Politics of Menstruation, Birth and Devotion at Kamakhya Temple in Assam’ in Motrescu-Mayes, A. and Banks, M. (eds), Visual Histories of South Asia (Primus Books, 2018), pp.52-68.

Ramos, I. ‘From Tipu to Ambedkar: Retelling the story of South Asia at the British Museum,’ Arts of Asia, Vol.47, No.5, 2017.pp.92-101.

Ramos, I. ‘A Garland of Melodies: Ragamala paintings for the Rajput, Mughal and Sultanate courts,’ Orientations, Vol.48, No.5, 2017, pp.61-69.

Ramos, I. ‘The Fragmentation of Sati: Constructing Hindu identity through nationalistic pilgrimage souvenirs,’ Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts, Vol.27, 2015, pp.12-35.

Ramos, I. ‘Contesting the Colonial Gaze: Image worship debates in nineteenth-century Bengal,’ Journal of South Asian Studies, Vol.31, No.2, 2015, pp.237-246.

Ramos, I. ‘’Private Pleasures’ of the Mughal Empire,’ Art History, Vol.37, No.3, 2014, pp.409-427.