Unknown artist (Artist) Sikh School (School of)

Gobind Singh Holding a Hawk, with Two Servants in Attendance

Gobind Singh Holding a Hawk, with Two Servants in Attendance by Unknown artist, Sikh School

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This painting most likely depicts Guru Gobind Singh (1666–1708),

who was the tenth Sikh Guru and a warrior, poet and philosopher in

addition to being a spirtiual master. As leader of the Sikhs, Gobind

Singh was both a divine authority and a strong military leader who

successfully resisted the advances of the Mughal Empire under

Aurangzeb (1618-1707). Gobind Singh acted as an Emperor and

held court where he met with rajas and aristocrats as well as the

poor and needy. He became known as chittian bajanvala (Master of

the White Hawk) due to the white falcon that he carried with him,

which often appears in depictions of him to indicate his identity and

also to symbolise his military might. Here he sits under a canopy,

a traditional marker of authority, wearing a dastar (turban) and

holding the kirpan, a ceremonial sword. In addition to symbolising

his dignity and power, these accessories are also physical

identifiers of the Khalsa, the name given to all Sikhs initiated

through the sacred Amrit ceremony that was instituted by Gobind

Singh in 1699.

Title
Gobind Singh Holding a Hawk, with Two Servants in Attendance
Artist/creator
Production date
circa 1850
Medium
tempera
Dimensions
242 x 189 mm
Inscription
(reverse) Johnson 5 (pencil) Inscription in Indian script (ink)
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
U/208
Copyright
No known copyright restrictions
Department
International Art
Display status
Not on display

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