Maharaja Ram Singh of Amber

Maharaja Ram Singh (r.1667-1688) of Amber

by Amber court artist
circa 1680 CE

Gouache on paper
13.8 x 10.2 in. (35.1 x 25.9 cm.)

Front: (in Urdu): “Ram Singh”
“Raja Man Simha of Jaypore founder of ..?”

This portrait was part of a genealogical series of the rulers painted at Amber court, most possibly in the reign of Mirza Raja Jai Singh and Raja Ram Singh.

Raja Ram Singh, elder son of Mirza Raja Jai Singh (head of the Kuchhwaha Rajput clan), was posted in Shrinagar, Assam and Afghanistan and is remembered for an unfortunate incidence with Maratha ruler Shivaji in Aurengzeb’s court. Prince Ram Singh was made representative at the Mughal court and also the care taker of Shivaji Maharaj and his nephew when they were to be presented in Aurengzeb’s court. But the course of events led to Shivaji fleeing away, leaving Ram Singh as the main suspect which costed him his credibility and rank.

In this rendering, which resonates Mughal portraiture, Ram Singh’s dignity and position is accentuated by a radiating golden nimbus. Two attendants serve him, one holds a nisan (royal insignia) which resemble alams from Deccan. Use of semi-precious Danafarang (malachite) as background and fine Urdu inscription next to the figure have been neatly worked out in keeping with Mughal style.