Raja Sansar Chand of Kangra and his Small Son and Courtiers, from Kangra, Himachal Pradesh
This formal court portrait shows Sansar Chand of Kangra (ruled 1775–1823) smoking a huqqa together with a darker-complexioned visitor from central India. Courtiers surround the men while, in front of them, soldiers in European-style uniforms (inspired by the visiting Irish adventurer William O'Brien, who reorganized Sansar Chand's army) flank a pool into which a woman demonstrates fireworks. In 1809, Sansar Chand lost control of his fortress capital of Kangra to the great Sikh ruler Ranjit Singh. He lived out his final decades in the smaller cities of Alampur and Sujanpur Tira, which lie to the south of Kangra along the Beas River.
Artform: PAINTING AND DRAWING, Pre-20th Century
Period: 19th century
Medium: opaque watercolor and gold leaf on paper
Size: 37.5 x 50.8 cm
Museum: Philadelphia Museum of Art
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