Title: The Court of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. (Lahore.)

Classification: Photograph

Artist(s): After Mohammad Bakhsh Nakash

Date: c. 1880

Dimensions: H. 26 in. x W. 26 in.

Museum number: S.M.82 (N.M.1961.362) 

Physical location: Section 5: Rani Jindan's Haveli

Collection: Princess Bamba Collection

Inscriptions: (Scroll Down)

Bibliographic Reference(s): F. A. Khan, The Princess Bamba Collection Catalogue: Antiquities of Sikh Period (Lahore: Department of Archaeology, 1961), 11, cat. no. 58.

This is a photograph of an 1880 painting by Mohammad Bakhsh Naqqāsh, Chutta Bazār, Lahore. The painting shows Maharaja Ranjit Singh holding his court or darbār on a terrace under a heavily ornamented canopy. All male members of his family and important courtiers are shown present at the occasion.

He sits on his chair-like throne in his usual style with one foot tucked under him and the other on a footrest. Seated behind him are his four sons and grandson. His minister Raja Dhyan Singh’s son Hira Singh is also given the honour of a seat although his father stands with his hands clasped in the front row. His placement in the group and his tallest sar-pēsh or turban ornament indicates his prominence among other courtiers. Standing right behind him is his elder brother Gulab Singh. The outer paper mount of this photograph carries names of all important men depicted here in English and are transcribed below. The four servants standing behind the royal family, whisking away flies, are not given names and are only mentioned as attendants. Names of the four men seated behind Diwan Dina Nath on the left are also not given. They are referred to as “a group of accountants and secretaries”. Interestingly, none of them is shown with clasped hands contrary to the pose given to all men in the group facing the Maharaja although they do not hold anything in their hands as does Dina Nath.

An elephant mounted by a hauda or litter and several horses with bejewelled trappings accompanied by their grooms are shown outside the royal residence waiting for their masters. The fīl/pīl-bān or elephant-driver holds the aṅkus or the goad in his hand to keep the elephant under control.

(Note: A hauda with a canopy is called an ‘amārī)

Left:

an attendant, an attendant, an attendant, chauribardar (flywhisk bearer)
Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Kharrak Singh.
Sher Singh.
Nao Nihal Singh.
Peshawara Singh.
Kashmira Singh.
Hira Singh.
a group of accountants and secretaries.
Diwan Dina Nath (accountant).

Right:

1st row: Raja Dhian Singh, Raja Golab Singh, Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa, Raja Sochet Singh, Nidan Singh, Sardar Ajit Singh Sindhanwalia, Sardar Lehna Singh Sindhanwalia, Dhowkal Singh.

2nd row: Faqir Nooruddin (Secretary), Jemador Khushal Singh, Raja Lal Singh (Misser), Mr. Allard (Frenchman), Sardar Sham Singh Atariwala, Diwan Ajudhia Parshad, Sultan Mohammad Khan of Kabul, Makhe Khan Phoola Singh Nihang.

3rd row: Faqir Azizuddin (Secretary), Sardar Lehna Singh Majithia, Shaikh Ghulam Mohaiyuddin, Mr. Ventura (Italian), Sardar Attar Singh Kalianwala, Nawab Sarfraz Khan, Diwan Sawan Mal, Sardar Chattar Singh Atariwala.

The inscription in red ink at the bottom says the following:

Photographed from the original picture drawn in 1880 by Muhammad Bakhsh Nakash [Naqqāsh] Chutta Bazar Lahore.

contact us

Please use the form below to get in touch.
We look forward to hearing from you!