Maharaja Sidh Sen Receiving an Embassy
A Master of the Mandi atelier (Indian)
India (Himachal Pradesh, Mandi)
Ink and opaque watercolor on paper
14 9/16 x 10 5/8 in. (37 x 27 cm)
Purchase, Florence and Herbert Irving Gift and Rogers Fund, 1995
The subdues palette of grays, greens, and whites and the sophisticated drawing of this unusually large and ambitious painting mark it as the work of the most important Mandi painter of the early eighteenth century. The dual-level composition, in which the maharaja and two visiting dignitaries sit on a raised dais covered with a summer carpet while retainers and mounts stand on the ground below, derives from Mughal models. The subject is extremely unusual within the corpus of hill-state painting; the picture probably records an actual meeting, which seems filled with import. In Hindu painting, rulers are routinely portrayed on a larger scale than their courtiers, as befits their royal stature. Here, the two massive figures face each other; the white-robed Sidh Sen and his portly petitioner.