Maharaja Sital Dev in Devotion

India (Punjab Hills, Basohli)

Not on view

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.

Maharaja Sital Dev in Devotion, Ink, opaque watercolor, and silver on paper, India (Punjab Hills, Basohli)

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