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Raja Balwant Singh

  • Object:

    Painting

  • Place of origin:

    Jasrota (possibly, made)
    Jammu (possibly, made)
    Punjab Hills (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1750 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Nainsukh (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

  • Museum number:

    IS.24-1974

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This painting is by the renowned Pahari painter Nainsukh. Pahari is a style of painting particular to the Punjab Hills of northern India. This painting shows a local ruler, Balwant Singh, watching performers. Balwant Singh (1724-1763) was from the 1740s until his death the patron of Nainsukh, who painted many portraits of him engaged in a variety of courtly activities. In the centre is a young male dancer mimicking the actions of female dancers. Behind him is a group of musicians and singers. One holds a paper scroll in playful imitation of the Raja smoking a water pipe. Two sheets of paper have been joined together to make the picture.

Physical description

Painting, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, figures on a plain, unpainted background. Raja Balwant Singh is seated on a throne on the left of the picture, under a canopy. He is smoking a huqqa and watching a group of performers on the right. In this group there is a dancer with musicians and mimics behind him. The picture is made up of two pieces of paper joined together. The join runs vertically on the left of the centre.

The raja is seated on a goldern throne with a black, red, white and green canopy, amid blue-black cushions. He wears a white floral-patterned jama and matching turban, with sarpech, his left hand rests on a cushion and in his right he holds the 'snake' of the huqqa which is placed before the throne. To the right of the picture, the boy dancer wears a bright pink costume, and performs with his right arm raised and bent at the elbow, and his left arm extended backwards to the group of eight musicians and singers who support him. The group forms an area of white, all the jamas except two being this colour, relieved by small areas of pinks, oranges, yellows and greens in turbans, patkas, instruments and one talwar in the foreground.

Place of Origin

Jasrota (possibly, made)
Jammu (possibly, made)
Punjab Hills (made)

Date

ca. 1750 (made)

Artist/maker

Nainsukh (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Rajah Buldev seated under a shamiana smoking, watching a Kathak dancing with a number of musicians behind.
On the reverse

Dimensions

Height: 25 cm, Width: 37.5 cm

Object history note

Formerly in the collection of Major General G. McAndrew, Superintendent of Chamba, 1872-1874.

Descriptive line

Painting, Balwant Singh watching mimics and musicians, by Nainsukh, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Punjab Hills (Pahari), Jammu or Jasrota, ca. 1750

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

GOSWAMY, B.N. Nainsukh of Guler, Zurich, 1997, catalogue number 69, p.186. For discussion of Balwant Singh's identity, see pp.259-284

p. 369 and p. 201 (under other portraits of musicians).
Indian paintings from the Punjab Hills : a survey and history of Pahari miniature painting / by W. G. Archer ; foreword by Sherman E. Lee. London :Delhi: Sotheby Parke Bernet ;Oxford University Press, 1973 Number: 0856670022

Labels and date

RAJA BALWANT SINGH OF JASROTA WATCHING A DANCER
By Nainsukh
Opaque watercolour and gold on paper
Jasrota, Punjab Hills
c.1750-55

IS 24-1974
From the collection of Dr W.B. Manley

Behind the young male dancer is a group of musicians and singers. One holds a paper scroll in playful imitation of the Raja smoking a water pipe. Two sheets of paper have been joined together to make the picture. Balwant Singh (born 1724, died 1763) was from the 1740s until his death the patron of the gifted artist Nainsukh, who painted many portraits of him engaged in a variety of courtly activities, including scenes of entertainment and hunting, as well as in quiet contemplation and going about his daily business. [2000]

Materials

Opaque watercolour; Paper; Paint; Gold

Techniques

Painted

Subjects depicted

Ruler; Musicians; Throne; Huqqa

Categories

Paintings; Portraits; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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