Fragment from Maharaja Pratap Singh with ladies of the royal harem

Maker(s)
Artist: Sahiba Ram (ca. 1740-1800)
Historical period(s)
Kachavaha dynasty, 1780-1800
Movement
Jaipur Court
School
Rajput School
Medium
Opaque watercolor, silver, and gold on paper
Dimensions
H x W: 46.4 x 44.5 cm (18 1/4 x 17 1/2 in)
Geography
India, Rajasthan state, Jaipur
Credit Line
Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S1997.70
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Painting
Type

Painting

Keywords
drinking, harem, hookah, India, Kachavaha dynasty, maharaja, smoking, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Label

This fragment from what was once a full-size portrait of the Jaipur ruler Pratap Singh (reigned 1779-1803) focuses the viewer's attention on the royal women who cluster around the king's body. With hands decorated in red henna, the women grasp gold wine flasks, lift drinking cups to smiling lips, and caress their sinuous tresses. In court painting as well as poetry, the beautiful women who attended a king were testaments to his charisma and power.

The Sackler fragment offers a rare opportunity to view the work of Sahiba Ram. Many Jaipur paintings, and certainly ones of this caliber, remain inaccessible within the collection of that Rajasthan court.

Published References
  • Thomas Lawton, Thomas W. Lentz. Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. vol. 1 Washington, 1998. pp. 198-199.
  • Masters of Indian Painting. Exh. cat. Zurich. pp. 623-640, fig. 7.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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