A Raja in Armor in Procession Before His Palace

Historical period(s)
ca. 1850
Ink, graphite, and color on laid paper
H x W: 60.3 x 48.5 cm (23 3/4 x 19 1/8 in)
India, Punjab
Credit Line
Gift of Mr. Murray Lebwohl in honor of Martha Smith
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


battle, dog, horse, India, palace, raja, warrior, WWII-era provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable

While this drawing exhibits stylistic continuities with the Pahari school paintings (northwest India) produced for Hindu rulers in the 17th through mid-19th century, it depicts a Sikh prince or nobleman. The prince seems to be Raja Dhian Singh (1796-1843) because of similarities in profile and beard length between this drawing and published portraits of the Sikh ruler.

The extent of the shading and the touches of color on the raja's sword suggest that this was intended as a finished drawing, rather than as a preparatory study. The drawing may have been commissioned by an English patron. Its support is a pale blue-gray English laid paper with a Ruse and Turner watermark of 1848 and an inscription on the verso suggests the painting entered an English collection shortly after 1854. In addition to laying down the figures' contours and the basic architectural structure in black ink, the artist delicately shaded the faces and the contours of the male figures in the procession and, to a lesser extent, the faces of the women in the palace. 

The elaborate palace is filled with the idealized heroines who appear in countless court paintings of literary and poetic subjects; their presence creates a romantic backdrop for the procession at the painting's bottom register.

Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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