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Maharana Jawan Singh of Mewar Receiving the Governor General of India, Lord William Cavendish Bentinck, February 8th, 1832

Attributed to Ghasi

Asian Art

This large painting depicts an important meeting that took place at the 1832 Ajmer darbar, the first major gathering of India's Rajput rulers with the British governor general. A darbar is an official audience between rulers that includes a series of strictly regulated ceremonial meetings heralded by gun salutes and punctuated by an exchange of nazar (gifts). Maharana Jawan Singh of Mewar (ruled 1828–38), identified here by his gold nimbus and gold patka (sash), receives Lord Bentinck, who is formally attired in an orange coat. They share a throne made specially for the occasion. Jawan Singh's gifts to the British include multicolored bolts of cloth laid out on the white carpet before the stepped platform.

This painting has been attributed to Ghasi, a nineteenth-century court artist known for his clearly delineated darbar paintings that provide a visual reflection of the attention paid to protocol and hierarchy in nineteenth-century India. Like most painters of his time, Ghasi would have been trained primarily as a manuscript illustrator, so he was used to working on a small scale. As a result, even his large compositions have a miniaturist quality, with many small figures arranged within compartmentalized spaces.
MEDIUM Opaque watercolor, gold and silver on cloth
DATES ca. 1832
DIMENSIONS 74 7/16 x 50 3/8 in. (189 x 128 cm)
COLLECTIONS Asian Art
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 2002.34
CREDIT LINE Gift of the Alvin E. Friedman-Kien Foundation, Inc., in honor of Dr. Bertram H. Schaffner's 90th Birthday
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION A large painting on cotton depicting the February 8th meeting of the 1832 Ajmer darbar at which Maharana Jawan Singh of Mewar (r. 1828-38) received the Governor General of India, Lord William Cavendish Bentinck. The painting illustrates the large encampment in which the meeting took place, with the maharana and general seated in European-style chairs at the top, beneath a large tent, and various Mewari and British courtiers seated in tidy rows to either side of a large, central courtyard. On the ground are piles of colorful fabric, given as diplomatic gifts. Around the central meeting space are areas with various subsidiary figures and their horses, all surrounded by red temporary walls. Several areas of the painting are not finished, with the shapes of figures colored in but no details (such as facial features) added.
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