Maharaja Gaj Singh of Bikaner

Maharaja Gaj Singh (1723, r.1745-1787) of Bikaner

by Isai Abure (?) of Bikaner
dated 1796 CE

Gouache on paper (with embedded beetle wings)
12.2 x 7.9 in. (31 x 20.1 cm.)

Back: “Sabih 1 Shri Maharaj Shri Gaj Sah ji ri Kaam uste Isai Abure (?) ro najar
mujro maatam posi ro samat 1853 magsar vadi 7”
(on a wet stamp): “This painting belongs to the personal collection of H H
Maharaja Bikaner”

Controlled line work, fine depiction and smoothness of colour palette suggests that this work was done by a master hand. Maharaja Gaj Singh’s bulky, royal personality is enhanced through an ultra-fine cotton jama, grey-golden waist cloth, an angavastram and a signature Bikaneri turban. Most distinguished feature of the portrait is the use of blue coloured beetle wings which are neatly encrusted in the sheath and hilt of his sword and on his sarpech. Two large pearls in his earring take a dramatic swing and are contrasted against his extended whiskers. His fine large nimbus is placed off-centre (appears to have shifted down). Standing on a terrace, Gaj Singh’s stout silhouette is neatly set against an olive green background.