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Identification and Creation
Object Number
2002.50.39
Title
Equestrian Portrait of Raja Karan Singh of Bikaner
Classification
Albums
Work Type
album folio
Date
second half of the 17th century
Places
Creation Place: South Asia, India
Culture
Indian
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/165370
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Black ink on beige paper
Dimensions
26 x 19 cm (10 1/4 x 7 1/2 in.)
Provenance
Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood, Belmont, MA (by 1992-2002), gift; to Harvard Art Museums, 2002.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art
Accession Year
2002
Object Number
2002.50.39
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
This fragmentary drawing portrays Raja Karan Singh of Bikaner (r. 1631–69) on horseback. Shown in profile, the ruler wears an elaborate turban and gem-studded jewelry. Detailed brushwork and shading give a sense of volume to the bodies of horse and rider; the animal’s galloping stance and the flying bands of the raja’s clothing create the impression of lively motion. Because Raja Karan Singh was alternately an ally and a foe of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb (r. 1658–1707), this portrait, like other art produced in Bikaner during his reign, merges local artistic traditions with Mughal idioms, reflecting both the self-identity of the house of Bikaner and its complex relations with the Mughals.


Published Catalogue Text: In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art , written 2013
129

Equestrian Portrait of Raja Karan Singh of Bikaner
Folio from an album
India, Rajasthan, Bikaner, second half 17th century
Black ink on beige paper
Folio: 26 × 19 cm (10 1/4 × 7 1/2 in.)
2002.50.39

This fragmentary drawing portrays Raja Karan Singh of Bikaner (r. 1631–69) on horseback.1 Shown in profile, the ruler wears an elaborate turban and gem-studded jewelry. Detailed brushwork and shading give a sense of volume to the bodies of horse and rider; the animal’s galloping stance and the flying bands of the raja’s clothing create the impression of lively motion. Because Raja Karan Singh was alternately an ally and a foe of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb (r. 1658–1707), this portrait, like other art produced in Bikaner during his reign, merges local artistic traditions with Mughal idioms, reflecting both the self-identity of the house of Bikaner and its complex relations with the Mughals.

Mika M. Natif

[1] Compare, also from the Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum collection, A Portrait of Raja Karan Singh of Bikaner Holding a Sword (2011.95).

Publication History

Mary McWilliams, ed., In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2013), p. 261, cat. 129, ill.

Exhibition History

In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2013 - 06/01/2013

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu