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Paintings > Sikh Art > Guru Ram Das
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Guru Ram Das

Guru Ram Das

Guru Ram Das

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Miniature Painting on Paper

6.5" X 9.0"
Item Code:
HY18
Frame
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Viewed 8600 times since 2nd Oct, 2008
This portrait of Guru Ramdas, fourth of the Sikh Gurus, represents another masterpiece of mid-nineteenth century Patiala set of Sikh Gurus, rendered under the patronage of Maharaja Narender Singh who is best known for his art connoisseurship, for constructing Shish Mahal, the Mirror Palace, and several other buildings and for his beautiful frescoes. The period of Maharaja Narender Singh was the golden era for Sikh art in Patiala. In the frescoes as well as miniatures of his time deep tones of yellow, various shades of steel grey, magenta, olive green and pink and various patterns in white and, of course, sharp features, expressive faces and slim well delineated figures dominated the canvas. These miniatures have a strong Pahari touch. Maybe, these colour schemes or even style of figures better suited the taste of their patron.

This representation of Guru Rarndas is more extensive than a mere portrayal. It was Guru Rarndas who gave to Sikh tradition the cult of holy architecture and shrines building. He was the founder of Rarndaspur along with a tank, the Arnrit Sarovara, by the name of Amritsar. Later the name of the city, that is Ramdaspur and the name of the tank, that is Amritsar, merged into one and gave to Sikhs their spiritual capital by the name of Amritsar. Under Guru Rarndas Sikhism was now a regular establishment with a formal representative system. The mode of fund raising both for the construction of the holy buildings and for running the affairs of the Panth had Guru's authority and was more systematic. Sangats were required to meet regularly and there was greater emphasis on daily communion. Guru Ramdas was an inspired poet. He wrote hundreds of verses of which 638 hymns, or 'Sabad' have been included in Sikhs' Holy Book Sri Guru Granth sahib.

This miniature portrays Guru Rarndas and the journey of his life more elaborately. The architectural background in the painting is symbolic of his achievements in the area of architecture and city founding. Guru Rarndas seems to be presiding over a gathering which certainly does not constitute a court but is more than what an informal Sikh sangat used to be in prior days and less than a court of the days of Guru Har Gobind. It characteristically represents the transitional phase when under Guru Ramdas the old form of Sikh sangat was heading towards a new one. Here the Guru occupies the principal seat against a bolster on a separately laid carpet and his disciples just a subordinate position but devoid of regalia around it is yet a Guru's humble seat. It is at the most suggestive of his efforts to ordain Sikhs regular daily communions. In the Sangat there are various musicians with all kinds of instruments. But more significant is the presence of a disciple with a pothi, or a text in his hand. It is suggestive of both, the poetic contribution of Guru Ramdas and the significance of Bani in Sikh Panth. Thus, this formal gathering of Guru Rarndas manifests both the music and Bani and lays the foundation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib where they both, the music and Bani, combined to create the outer frame of the Holy Book. .

This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.


Delivered by to all international destinations within 3 to 5 days, fully insured.

Of Related Interest:

Silver Pendant with Gold: Guru Nanak

Book: The Sikhs Images of a Heritage

Comic Book: Guru Nanak

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