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Title: Painted Drum

Classification: Musical instrument

Artist(s): Unknown 

Date: 19th century

Dimensions: H. 0 in. x W. 0 in.

Museum number: 

Physical location: Section 2 (Central Hall): Implements of War

Bibliographic reference: Jean-Marie Lafont, Maharaja Ranjit Singh: Lord of the Five Rivers(New Delhi: OUP, 2003 [2002]), fig. 85.

Jean-Marie Lafont explains that General Allard and Ventura introduced a military band to Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Fauj-i khās and this drum must have been a part of this band. The surface of the drum is painted in bright red with a figurative composition encircling it. Different themes are presented in tiers with the top section showing a war scene and the lower band representing glimpses of the idle pastoral life. The Fauj-i Khās foot soldiers in their red jackets and white trousers carrying their rifles are marching in a file in the upper band. Some of these soldiers are beating the war drums very similar to the object under discussion. Behind them is a raja riding in his hauda mounted on a white elephant followed by Sikh nobles riding their horses. Another section of the drum has the ghorchara or equestrian soldiers engage in a battle with their mounted counterparts. Some sections of the bottom tier shows pastoral scenes where male and female figures are engaged in their everyday life activities oblivious to the commotion around them.

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