Harjeevan Das Jetha Shah

Harjeevan Das Jetha Shah
Philanthropist from Surat

by Nathdwara artist
circa 1860 CE

Gouache on paper
23.6 x 15.7 in. (59.9 x 39.9 cm.)

Front: “Harjeevan Das Jetha Sahaa”

Harjeevan Das Jetha Shah, son of Jetha Shah Sitwala, was a resident of Ahmedabad and traded in silk and zari. They were suppliers to royal families and also exported internationally. In eighteenth century, the family shifted to Surat and established their own mills for the production of silk and zari (company was named after Harjeevan Jetha Shah) which led to the initiation of a family and subsequently a community entrepreneurship. These people were of religious nature and constructed a temple of their family Guru ‘Govindji Guru Bapujibawa’ in Surat.

This portrait is done in a predominant mixture of Mewar and Nathdwara style and Harjeevan must have commissioned it during one of his pilgrimages to Nathdwara. His fine costume with golden border and setup on a balcony with a small golden paan-daan and a peek-daan placed on either sides of him reflects his high taste.