Volume 34 Number 1, September 1981

Maharaja Ranjit Singh: as Patron of the Arts

Edited by: Mulk Raj Anand
Binding: Hardcover
Specifications: 142 pages, 100 illustrations
Dimensions: 324 x 241 mm

Maharaja Ranjit Singh had only one eye – but one is compelled to say “What an eye!” A commemorative volume for the occasion of the bicentenary of this great Indian ruler who built an empire in the Punjab from feudal chaos, it delineates the emergence of a many-sided culture along with the political history and has articles on wall paintings, portraiture, paintings, wood carvings, medals and coins.

Mulk Raj Anand is the author of Persian Painting (Faber & Faber) and Editor of Marg Publications.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh as Patron of the Arts
Mulk Raj Anand

Introduction

Transformation of Folk Impulses into Awareness of Beauty in Art Expression
Mulk Raj Anand

‘Lion Victor of Battles’: Maharaja Ranjit Singh - A Life Sketch
Ganda Singh

Architecture
Mulk Raj Anand

Wall Paintings under the Sikhs
Kanwarjit Singh Kang

A Matter of Taste: Some Notes on the Context of Painting in Sikh Punjab
B.N. Goswamy

Honoured Images: The Use of Portraiture in Sikh Diplomacy
F.S. Aijazuddin

Changing Faces of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Portraiture
Man Mohan Singh

Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Court: Painters and the Painted
Man Mohan Singh

Wood Carving
Kanwarjit Singh Kang

Medals of Maharaja Ranjit Singh
Man Mohan Singh

Coinage of the Sikh Empire - An Outline
Lance Dane

Introduction: Maharaja Ranjit Singh as Patron of the Arts
Anand, Mulk Raj
Vol. 34 No. 1, September 1981; pp. 1-7

Maharaja Ranjit Singh patronized the arts, and encouraged building activity. The arts in his time were hedonistic. Artisans flocked to his capital Lahore, and a new authentic style developed.

Transformation of Folk Impulses into Awareness of Beauty in Art Expression
Anand, Mulk Raj
Vol. 34 No. 1, September 1981; pp. 8-26

Maharaja Ranjit Singh patronized all artistic skills, which led to an influx of craftsmen from the decaying Mughal courts. Portraiture flourished as the most important activity in the Lahore court and the provinces. The arts of the village craftsmen matured, resulting in works of quality.The article illustrates examples of various arts.

'Lion Victor of Battles' Maharaja Ranjit Singh - A Life Sketch
Singh, Ganda
Vol. 34 No. 1, September 1981; pp. 27-42, 135

An account of the lineage of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839), his early life, military expeditions, and conquests.

Architecture
Anand, Mulk Raj
Vol. 34 No. 1, September 1981; pp. 43-49

The architecture of the havelis, city wall of Amritsar, renovations to the Lahore Fort, and gardens in and around Lahore show the practical genius of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Wall Painting under the Sikhs
Kang, Kanwarjit
Vol. 34 No. 1, September 1981; pp. 50-59

The shrines and houses in Punjab carry 18th-century wall paintings. This form of embellishment flourished under the Sikhs. They depict the Sikh gurus, martyrs, 19th-century royalty and nobility, and important events in Sikh history. The article gives details of the contents of the wall paintings, their motifs, and the technique of production.

A Matter of Taste: Some Notes on the Context of Painting in Sikh Punjab
Goswamy, B.N.
Vol. 34 No. 1, September 1981; pp. 60-88

The article reconsiders the conclusions hitherto drawn -- especially by European observers -- on painting in Sikh Punjab, based on Sohan Lal Suri's Umdat-ut-Tawarikh and other documents. It also highlights Sikh patronage, and the thematic range of the paintings.

Honoured Images - The Use of Portraiture in Sikh Diplomacy
Aijazuddin, F.S.
Vol. 34 No. 1, September 1981; pp. 89-94, 138

In preparing the groundwork for meetings between Ranjit Singh and Governors General Lord William Bentinck in 1831 and Lord Auckland in 1838, portraitures served as a suitable medium of diplomacy. Portraits of the leaders were presented as a precursor to the actual meetings.

Changing Faces of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Portraiture
Singh, Man Mohan
Vol. 34 No. 1, September 1981; pp. 95-108

An account of the stylistic features of Maharaja Ranjit Singh's portraits produced by European and Indian painters. The article also includes lithographs of other royal figures.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh's Court: Painters and the Painted
Singh, Man Mohan
Vol. 34 No. 1, September 1981; pp. 109-120

Portraiture flourished in Maharaja Ranjit Singh's time and later. The outstanding European artists were August Schoefft, G.T. Vigne, and Emily Eden. Among the Indian painters, patronage was extended towards the hill painters of Guler and Kangra.

Wood Carving
Kang, Kanwarjit
Vol. 34 No. 1, September 1981; pp. 121-124

Most of the artistic wood-carving in Punjab during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh was used as a necessary adjunct of the religious and secular architecture, especially applied to embellish the façade or the entrance of the structure. The motifs were Hindu deities (especially Ganesha), Sikh Gurus, and themes from the epics. Important centres of wood-carving were Chiniot (near Jang) and Bhera (near Shahpur).

Medals of Maharaja Ranjit Singh
Singh, Man Mohan
Vol. 34 No. 1, September 1981; pp. 125-130, 138

Marg reproduces in colour, with descriptions, some priceless medals connected with Maharaja Ranjit Singh: " Auspicious Star of the Punjab", created by Ranjit Singh and presented to Lord Auckland in 1838; "Order of Ranjit Singh"; and "Star of the Punjab", created as a decoration on the occasion of the marriage ceremony of Ranjit Singh's grandson, Kanwar Nau Nihal Singh, in 1837.

Coinage of the Sikh Empire - An Outline
Dane, Lance
Vol. 34 No. 1, September 1981; pp. 131-134

Discussed are the legends and symbology of the Sikh coinages, including the "Gobind Shahi" rupees struck at Lahore by the Khalsa between 1764 and 1777; the "Nanak Shahi" rupees struck from 1777 at Ambratsar (Amritsar), with dates in Vikrama era; and the coins of Ranjit Singh (1799-1839) issued from Lahore, Amritsar, Multan, Kashmir, and other provincial units.