Maharao Ram Singh II of Kotah celebrating Dussera

Maharao Ram Singh II (1808, r.1828-1866) of Kotah
celebrating Dussera

by Kotah court artist
circa 1840 CE

Gouache on paper
9 x 7.2 in. (22.9 x 18.3 cm.)

Maharao Ram Singh II, the 16th Maharao, of Kotah gathered a number of painters in his atelier and commissioned a large number and versions of paintings depicting his royal, courtly and personal life.

Arrangements in this composition are made for shastra pujan (literally, worship of weapons) which is performed by almost all royal houses at the festival of Dussera. Rendered in a refined amalgamation of styles and with utmost precision, Ram Singh is depicted inside a marble chhatari and is served by two attendants.

Ram Singh’s idealized profile is outlined with a confident thin line and appears to be done by a master hand and the bright yet sombre colours in the composition pertain to the Kotah aesthetics.