Asian Art

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A Sikh Guru and a Prince in Conversation, 1800-1825

India: Himachal Pradesh, Guler Workshop, 1800-1825
Opaque watercolor on paper
image: 8-5/8 x 6-3/8 in. (21.9 x 16.2 cm); sheet: 11-1/2 x 9 in. (29.2 x 22.9 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of Ramesh and Urmil Kapoor
© Norton Simon Museum

Not on view

At first glance, one might presume that the prominent figure on the right of this painting is the prince, and the smaller figure the Sikh guru. The opposite is true. Sikh teachers, admired for both their religious and military abilities, were portrayed in art as princely soldiers. The guru sits on a beautiful floral carpet, and he holds a bow and arrow as well as a sword. His servant fans him from behind while holding his buckler.

By contrast, the prince is seated without the traditional trappings of a royal figure. His elite status is conveyed by his rich textiles and jewelry.

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