Baba Shri Morarswami reciting from a manuscript
by Dungarpur court artist
circa 1860 CE
Gouache on paper
7.4 x 5.8 in. (18.8 x 14.7 cm.)
Front: “Babaji Shri Morarswami”
Babaji Shri Morarswami was a highly regarding preacher from Saurashtra, in Gujarat. There is also a small temple in his honour in Saurashtra. However nothing much is yet known about his connection with Dungarpur, but being a neighbouring state he could have very likely visited there to give his preaching. This depiction of his is expressive for bold lines, bright colours and courtly set up.
Elderly Babaji is shown reading from a folio of Ramcharitmanas and styles a Vaishnavite tilak mark, a round cap and rudraksh malas. His background with a palatial room, terrace garden and floral carpet suggests that he must be either visiting a royal dignitary or was a priest in an influential temple or court.
Painters from different regions like Mewar used to visit Dungarpur court and artist of this folksy portrait must have seen a number of other courtly counterparts.