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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Portrait of Raja Chattar Singh of Chamba

Photo: Elizabeth Mann

Portrait of Raja Chattar Singh of Chamba

ca. 1685

The visual style of Mughal painting is associated with the Muslim rulers who were often depicted, but it was adopted for use by non-Muslim Indians as well. Gurus—wise teachers—loom large in the transmission and practice of Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. This rendering of a seated guru in the Mughal style may come from the Razmnama, the Persian-language translation of the Sanskrit Mahabharata. This ancient Indian epic was translated, and illustrated, as one of the major commissions of the Mughal court.

Until the mid-17th century, the Mughals fostered a tolerance for religious and cultural pluralism in their empire. Shah Aurangzeb (reigned 1658–1707), however, increasingly targeted non-Muslim monuments for destruction. Chattar Singh was a Sikh ruler of Chamba (a section of northern India), legendary for coming to the defense of the temples of his region—whether Hindu, Sikh or Jain.

Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper
8 1/2 x 5 1/4 in. (21.59 x 13.34 cm)
Overall h.: 16 5/8 in.
Overall w.: 12 1/2 in.
Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection
Photo: Elizabeth Mann
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistoryUtah, Provo, Brigham Young University, Beauty and Belief: Crossing Bridges with the Arts of Islam, February 24, 2012 - November, 2013

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Luminous: The Art of Asia", October 13, 2011 - January 8, 2012

Detroit, Michigan, The Detroit Institute of Arts, "An Exhibition Of Indian Paintings", 1944

Gainesville, Florida, University of Florida, "Miniatures and Small Sculptures From India", 1966, #61

Los Angeles, California, Los Angeles County Museum, "The Art Of Greater India", 1950, #105

Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that we are on the traditional homelands of the Duwamish and the customary territories of the Suquamish and Muckleshoot Peoples. As a cultural and educational institution, we honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future. We also acknowledge the urban Native peoples from many Nations who call Seattle their home.