Maharaja Ajit Singhji (1679, r.1699-1724) of Jodhpur
by Jodhpur court artist
circa 1740 CE
Gouache on paper
12.3 x 9.3 in. (31.2 x 23.6 cm.)
Back: “Maraj Shri Ajit Singhji”
This portrait is done in what is described as ‘Mughalized Rajasthani style’ which was a combination of various sensibilities. Jodhpur portrait style from this period prominently rendered Rajput ideals of kingship or belief in divine rule and thus associated features like glowing nimbus around the face, slightly larger face (in proportion to body), stern gaze and idealized robust figure.
At the time of his birth, under the guardianship of Durga Das, Maharaja Ajit Singh survived all the hardships of being away from his homeland. He went long a way from being a refugee in other Rajput kingdoms to finally claim his right on Marwar gaddi. Together with Mewar, Dhundhar and other Rajput rulers, he signed the ahadnamah (promise or treaty) for mutual protection against repeated Mughal threats in 1708 CE.
In this portrait, a remarkable contrast is created by intricate floral decoration on soft furnishing set against white architectural features and ruler’s white outfit and embossed strings of pearl.