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Title: Maharaja Sher Singh

Classification: Oil painting

Artist(s): August Schoefft (1809–1888)

Date: 1841–1855

Dimensions: H. 56 in. x W. 44.5 in.

Museum number: S.M.54 (N.M.1961.334) 

Physical location: Section 5: Rani Jindan's Haveli

Collection: Princess Bamba Collection

Bibliographic Reference(s):
F. A. Khan, The Princess Bamba Collection Catalogue: Antiquities of Sikh Period (Lahore: Department of Archaeology, 1961), plate IX (cat. no. 4).

F. S. Aijazuddin, Sikh Portraits by European Artists (Karachi: OUP, 1979), plate II.

This oil painting shows Maharaja Sher Singh (1807–1843) seated on Maharaja Ranjit Singh's famous gold throne covered with a thick sheet of gold, now housed in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Sher Singh is dressed in a cream-coloured kurta (tunic) and pā-jāma (long drawers), both heavily embroidered with gold thread. A diaphanous white shawl is draped over his left shoulder and tied at the waist along with a sword with a bejewelled hilt. He also holds an unsheathed sword in his right hand known as a khāṅḍā (a straight and broad double-edged sword with a basket hilt). Part of its blade is heavily inlaid with gold while its hilt appears to be entirely made of gold. He wears a pink turban with a very elaborate sar-pesh (turban ornament) studded with countless precious stones such as rubies, emeralds, pearls and diamonds and crowned with a cluster of heron feathers. Timur’s spinel around his neck and the Koh-i Noor diamond in his bāzū-band (armlet) are two world renowned precious stones Schoefft has captured here. The rest of his heavy jewellery (multiple bāzū-bands and necklaces) are also made of similar precious materials.

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