Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Maharaja Sital Dev in Devotion

ca. 1690
India (Punjab Hills, Basohli)
Ink, opaque watercolor, and silver on paper
Image: 5 5/8 x 4 5/8 in. (14.3 x 11.7 cm) Page: 7 1/4 x 6 1/4 in. (18.4 x 15.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Cynthia Hazen Polsky Gift, 2000
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 251
The image of the blind raja Sital Dev stands apart from other dynastic portraits. Here, the focus is on his private devotion, as he sits holding a mala (rosary) and reciting mantras. Not only is he unattended, but his surroundings are simple and stripped of the iconography of kingship. The immediacy and poignancy of the depiction is surprising since it dates to more than thirty years after Sital Dev’s death and reflects the subdued Basohli style of this later period. For the patron who commissioned this work, it was the maharaja’s spiritual quest that was important, rather than his standing as a ruler.
Inscription: Inscribed above in takri script: sri raj sital mankotia; similar Persian inscription on reverse in a late hand (with various takri numerals and inscription)
Related Objects

Krishna Revels with the Gopis: Page from a Dispersed Gita Govinda (Song of the Cowherds)

Date: ca. 1630–40 Medium: Opaque watercolor and silver on paper Accession: 2003.165 On view in:Gallery 251

Picchwai for the Festival of Cows

Date: late 18th century Medium: Painted and printed gold and silver leaf and opaque watercolor on indigo-dyed cotton Accession: 2003.177 On view in:Gallery 251

Shiva and Parvati Playing Chaupar: Folio from a Rasamanjari Series

Artist: Devidasa of Nurpur (active ca. 1680–ca. 1720) Date: dated 1694–95 Medium: Opaque watercolor, ink, silver, and gold on paper Accession: 57.185.2 On view in:Not on view

Sanveri Ragini, Page from a Ragamala Series (Garland of Musical Modes)

Date: ca. 1700–1710 Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, and silver on paper Accession: 2002.178 On view in:Gallery 251

The Monkey King Vali's Funeral Pyre

Date: ca. 1780 Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, silver, and gold on paper Accession: 2004.367 On view in:Gallery 251