The tenth Sikh Guru initiating the army, woodcut
Lot 288
An unusual hand-coloured woodcut depicting the Sikh Guru Govind Singh sprinkling five of his followers with amrit Punjab, circa 1870
£3,000 - 4,000
US$ 5,000 - 6,700
Auction Details
Lot Details
An unusual hand-coloured woodcut depicting the Sikh Guru Govind Singh sprinkling five of his followers with amrit
Punjab, circa 1870
hand-coloured woodcut on paper, identifying inscriptions in gurmukhi script, one inscription in nasta'liq, yellow and red margins, in mount
270 x 455 mm.

Footnotes

  • The scene depicted took place in 1699 at Anandpur, for the first time initiating those taking part into the Khalsa brotherhood ('the Pure'). For Sikh woodcuts, see W. G. Archer, Paintings of the Sikhs, London 1966, pp. 189-191, and figs. 108-112.

    The first five initiates, who are celebrated in Sikh history, were Bhai Daya Singh, Bhai Dharam Singh, Bhai Mohkam Singh, Bhai Himmat Singh and Bhai Sahib Singh. Having watched two birds die fighting one another after having drunk some droplets of the waters stirred only with a steel dagger, the Guru's wife, Mata Sahib Deva, deliberately added sweets (patase) to inculcate a sense of humility in the warriors who are to consume the sacred initiation water.

    The woodcut is titled (in gurmukhi) amrit chhaka rahe hai, 'administering the immortal water'. Each figure is identified, also in gurmukhi (from left to right): Bhai Man Singh, the attendant; Sri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib 10; Mother of the Khalsa; Five Beloved; 1 Daya Singh; 2 Dharam Singh; 3 Sahib Singh; 4 Mohkam Singh; 5 Himmat Singh.
Activities
Contacts
  1. Matthew Thomas
    Specialist - Islamic and Indian Art
    Bonhams
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