Gosain Brajmanji

Gosain Brajmanji
Jodhpur, 1810

Opaque pigments with gold on paper
Image: 26.9 x 20.6 cm

Inscription: (back) Gosai Brajmanji

While the formal equestrian composition used here was quite common at Jodhpur, the many unusual features of our sitter make this a very exciting image. Gosain Brajmanji is shown with ash and tilak smeared over most of his face. His hair is matted and pulled into a basket like shape and held together by a thin string that has been carefully interwoven with his jaata. Though he is identified as a holy man, he is shown here as a fierce warrior, heavily armed with three talwars and a shield hanging from his waist and a bow in his right hand. His outfit, which features stripes from top to bottom, is of a sort that is not typically found in contemporary Jodphur works. His imposing figure dwarfs the six attendants that scurry behind with spears and chowry.

Portraits of holy men are some of the most alluring of all Marwar paintings. Compare our portrait of Brajmanji to a striking portrait of Shri Ayas Sundarvanji1 and another of Gosain Kirpal Girji receiving Sheeshvalji2.

1. Relia Collection, Relia and Soni (2016), The Indian Portrait VIII, Pg. 133.
2. Cathrine and Ralph Benkaim Collection at the Freer and Sackler Galleries, S2018.1.54, Published in Crill, R. (2000), Marwar Painting: A History of the Jodhpur Style, Pg. 77.