Embroidery from India and Pakistan, £10.99
Height: 230.000 mm
Width: 270.000 mm
Asia OA 1947.4-12.03
Raja Hari Singh with waterpipe and attendants, gouache on paper
From Marwar, Rajasthan,
Around AD 1770
The Hindu Rajput states of Rajasthan were conquered by the Mughal ruler Akbar in the late sixteenth century with the exception of Mewar (with its capital at Udaipur). As a result the earlier traditions of Rajput painting were influenced by Mughal painting, with both patrons and artists moving between the courts. The subjects of Rajput painting in both Rajasthan and the foothills of the Himalayas are of Hindu myths, rulers in worship, portraiture, court scenes and royal pursuits and pastimes, such as hunting.
Mughal court scenes were often of formal audiences before the emperor, whereas Rajput paintings often show the ruler in more informal settings. This portrait of Raja Hari Singh, identified by the inscription, shows him seated on a terrace outside a palace and flower garden. He smokes an elaborate waterpipe and holds a flower, while leaning against a patterned bolster. Before him is a rose water container and a bowl of flowers, some already sniffed and discarded. Two attendants stand behind him, one holding a sword and shield and the other a flywhisk. Both these two figures and Hari Singh are wearing the distinctive tall turban of Marwar. This is the area of Rajasthan with its capital at modern Jodhpur. The scalloped sky at the top suggests the approaching monsoon clouds.
M.C. Beach, Mughal and Rajput painting (Cambridge University Press, 1992)