Online Collection

Collections



Asian Art Museum Logo
Portrait of the tenth Guru, Gobind Singh
Place of Origin: India or Pakistan, Punjab region
Date: approx. 1830
Materials: Opaque watercolors and gold on paper
Dimensions: H. 7 1/4 in x W. 6 in, H. 18.4 cm x W. 15.2 cm (image); H. 9 1/2 in x W. 8 1/4 in, H. 24.1 cm x W. 20.9 cm (overall)
Credit Line: Gift of the Kapany Collection
Department: South Asian Art
Collection: Painting
Object Number: 1998.95
On Display: No
Culture: Sikh

Description

Label:

Guru Gobind Singh (1675–1708) was accelerated to the status of guru as a young child following the execution of his father by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. As the tenth guru he established the Khalsa (the Pure) as a fellowship that promoted Sikh solidarity and eventually served to establish the community’s political power. Gobind Singh organized the community into a military force, convincing the Sikhs of the morality of their fight against oppression.

Rendered in the manner of a princely equestrian portrait befitting his stature and authority, the guru wears sumptuous regalia, including a gold turban adorned with turban jewels, a necklace, armband, and bracelet, and ornamented weaponry. The trappings of his horse are equally lavish. The guru’s halo, appearing at nearly the exact center of the painting, focuses our attention on his spiritual might.


More Information

Exhibition History: "Saints and Kings: Arts, Culture, and Legacy of the Sikhs", Asian Art Museum, 3/10/2017 - 6/18/2017
Additional Label:

The religious leadership of Guru Nanak was continued after his death by several generations of disciples. By the time of Gobind Singh (1675–1708), Sikhs were being persecuted and Sikh religious teachers dying in defense of their faith; Tegh Bahadur, the ninth guru and Gobind Singh's father, was beheaded by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. In response to this persecution, Gobind Singh established the Khalsa (the Pure) as a community of Sikhs whose solidarity was proclaimed by participation in certain ceremonies and the adoption of such emblems as uncut hair. Gobind Singh organized these Sikhs into a military force, convincing them of the morality of their fight against oppression. The line of human gurus ended with the death of Gobind Singh. He appointed as his successor—and eternal guru—the Adi Granth (Primal Book), the holiest of Sikh texts.

Rendered in the manner of a princely equestrian portrait, this painting depicts Gobind Singh haloed and accompanied by three Sikh attendants.


Label:

Guru Gobind Singh (1675–1708) was accelerated to the status of guru as a young child following the execution of his father by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. As the tenth guru he established the Khalsa (the Pure) as a fellowship that promoted Sikh solidarity and eventually served to establish the community’s political power. Gobind Singh organized the community into a military force, convincing the Sikhs of the morality of their fight against oppression.

Rendered in the manner of a princely equestrian portrait befitting his stature and authority, the guru wears sumptuous regalia, including a gold turban adorned with turban jewels, a necklace, armband, and bracelet, and ornamented weaponry. The trappings of his horse are equally lavish. The guru’s halo, appearing at nearly the exact center of the painting, focuses our attention on his spiritual might.


Exhibition History: "Saints and Kings: Arts, Culture, and Legacy of the Sikhs", Asian Art Museum, 3/10/2017 - 6/18/2017
Expanded Label:

The religious leadership of Guru Nanak was continued after his death by several generations of disciples. By the time of Gobind Singh (1675–1708), Sikhs were being persecuted and Sikh religious teachers dying in defense of their faith; Tegh Bahadur, the ninth guru and Gobind Singh's father, was beheaded by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. In response to this persecution, Gobind Singh established the Khalsa (the Pure) as a community of Sikhs whose solidarity was proclaimed by participation in certain ceremonies and the adoption of such emblems as uncut hair. Gobind Singh organized these Sikhs into a military force, convincing them of the morality of their fight against oppression. The line of human gurus ended with the death of Gobind Singh. He appointed as his successor—and eternal guru—the Adi Granth (Primal Book), the holiest of Sikh texts.

Rendered in the manner of a princely equestrian portrait, this painting depicts Gobind Singh haloed and accompanied by three Sikh attendants.