Volume 54 Number 4, June 2003

New Insights into Sikh Art

Edited by: Kavita Singh
Binding: Hardcover
Specifications: 148 pages, 101 Illustrations
ISBN: 81-85026-60-2
Dimensions: 324 x 241 mm

This book seeks out fascinating and important aspects of Sikh art and heritage that have not often been studied before. Beginning with an essay that explains theologicaI developments within Sikhism, the book moves on to study the building projects commissioned by the saintly Guru Arjan and his warrior son Guru Hargobind. Another important essay studies a range of manuscripts of the Adi Granth; two essays deal with the courtly arts, the focus being painting at Patiala. Finally, the book looks towards the present and the future with essays on images of and by Sikhs in photography, early-modern art, and the Khalsa Heritage Complex at Anandpur Sahib.

Kavita Singh is Associate Professor at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. Apart from Sikh art, her research interests include the history of museums in India, and Indian painting. 

Introduction
Kavita Singh

The Sikh Tradition in the Pre-Modern Period
Pashaura Singh

Brick by Sacred Brick: Architectural Projects of Guru Arjan and Guru Hargobind
Gurmeet Rai and Kavita Singh

Illustration and Illumination in Sikh Scriptural Manuscripts
Jeevan Singh Deol

Allegories of Good Kingship: Wall Paintings in the Qila Mubarak at Patiala
Kavita Singh

The Changing Face of Things: Little Known “Sikh” Portraits from Patiala
B.N. Goswamy

Symbols of Identity: Photographs of a People
Divia Patel

Twentieth-Century Sikh Painting: The Presence of the Past
Urmi Kessar

The Khalsa Heritage Complex: A Museum for a Community?
Anne-Colombe Launois (Sat Kaur)

Index

Introduction
Singh, Kavita
Vol. 54 No. 4, June 2003; ISBN:81-85026-60-2, pp. 8-19

The 18th/19th century Sikh kingdoms and the courtly arts that flourished then have been documented. This book looks at Sikh art artefacts made for or by Sikhs and the allied area of Sikhs in art at other levels, works produced through the patronage of the community as well as projects undertaken by the Gurus, and stretches the timespan to look at what constitutes Sikh art today - in the 21st century.

The Sikh Tradition in the Pre-Modern Period
Singh, Pashaura
Vol. 54 No. 4, June 2003; ISBN:81-85026-60-2, pp. 20-31

The Sikh tradition originated in the Panjab region of northwest India five centuries ago. It is rooted in a particular religious experience, piety, and culture and is informed by a unique inner revelation of its founder, Guru Nanak (1469-1539), who declared his independence from the other thought forms of his day. It evolved in the premodern world in response to four main elements. The first and the foremost of these was the ideology based on religious and cultural innovations of Guru Nanak and his nine successors. The second was the rural base of Punjabi society. The third was the in-group conflict created by dissidents within the Sikh community that was originally at work to counter, but, paradoxically, served to enhance, the process of crystallization of the Sikh tradition. The fourth was the period of Panjab history from the 17th to 18th centuries in which the Sikh community (Panth) evolved in tension with Mughals and Afghans. These elements combined to produce the mutual interaction between indeology and environment in the historical development of the Sikh tradition.

Brick by Sacred Brick: Architectural Projects of Guru Arjan and Guru Hargobind
Rai, Gurmeet and Singh, Kavita
Vol. 54 No. 4, June 2003; ISBN:81-85026-60-2, pp. 32-49

The grandiose project for a Khalsa heritage museum designed by international architect Moshe in Anandpur Sahib is discussed. The writer raises Safdie questions regarding the role of a Khalsa museum and the place in it for the many kinds of Sikhs who are not Khalsa.

Illustration and Illumination in Sikh Scriptural Manuscripts
Deol, Jeevan Singh
Vol. 54 No. 4, June 2003; ISBN:81-85026-60-2, pp. 50-67

This essay studies a range of manuscripts of the Adi Granth, the holy book. It is explained in terms of major cultural shifts in the Panjab from the 17th-19th centuries. The writer traces the shift from the Islamicate codex format to the horizontal pothi format as a reflection of new Sikh political formations that shifted prestige away from Islamic cultural models. Forms of embellishment both illumination and illustration are discussed and their significance analysed.

Allegories of Good Kingship: Wall Paintings in the Qila Mubarak at Patiala
Singh, Kavita
Vol. 54 No. 4, June 2003, ISBN:81-85026-60-2, pp. 68-85

The article examines frescos in the lesser known Sikh court of Patiala. These virtually unknown paintings are particularly fine and open up a number of questions regarding eclecticism and artistic interactions in the 19th century. The focus is on the iconographic programme of four elaborate fresco sequences and suggests the possibility of reading Vaishnava themes as Sikh themes.

The Changing Face of Things: Little-Known "Sikh" Portraits from Patiala
Goswamy, B.N.
Vol. 54 No. 4, June 2003; ISBN:81-85026-60-2, pp. 86-99

This essay brings to light some unusual and unnoticed portraits from Patiala that might come to be remembered as the distinctive paintings from 19th-century Panjab. These virtually unknown portraits are of men drawn from different backgrounds, some in fact from the 'lower' segments of society. They are possessed of remarkable sensitivity and seem to be work preparatory to fully finished paintings.

Symbols of Identity: Photographs of a People
Patel, Divia
Vol. 54 No. 4, June 2003; ISBN:81-85026-60-2, pp. 100-117

The advent of photography in India in the 19th century helped construct a Sikh identity that was rigid and narrowly defined and came to focus first on the Sikh as warrior/heroic soldier and secondly on the Sikh as wealthy, exotic maharaja. It would take almost 60 years before Sikhs would be represented as a multidimensional community with complex questions of identity in their diasporic situations.

Twentieth-Century Sikh Painting: The Presence of the Past
Kessar, Urmi
Vol. 54 No. 4, June 2003; ISBN:81-85026-60-2, pp. 118-133

With the breakdown of court patronage in the late 19th century one school of painting in Panjab came to an end. Struggling with new media, new markets a generation of artists in the modern period pioneered a fresh vocabulary and a Sikh self-identity in painting in the mid-20th century.

The Khalsa Heritage Complex: A Museum for a Community?
Launois, Anne-Colombe (Sat Kaur)
Vol. 54 No. 4, June 2003; ISBN:81-85026-60-2, pp. 134-145

The grandiose project for a Khalsa heritage museum designed by international architect Moshe in Anandpur Sahib is discussed. The writer raises Safdie questions regarding the role of a Khalsa museum and the place in it for the many kinds of Sikhs who are not Khalsa.