Indian and Himalayan Art
Swami HanuhaakMade in Kishangarh, Rajasthan, India, Asia
Artist/maker unknown, India. Attributed to Nihalchand.
Transparent and opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper
Currently not on view
2004-149-43125th Anniversary Acquisition. Alvin O. Bellak Collection, 2004
LabelThis painting stands in contrast to the typical flattering court portrait. With his fantastic peacock-feather crown, wooden shoes, and bright orange wrap, the holy man cuts an engaging figure. The bell at his ear suggests he may be an itinerant storyteller or singer. The inscription identifies him as Swami Hanuhaak, but his protruding belly, flamboyant clothing, and oversized sword affirm that he is more a figure of comedy than religious gravity. The court painter Nihalchand is mostly known for his graceful-eyed images of Krishna and Radha, but he also helped produce a group of wickedly witty portraits ridiculing obese, pompous people with peculiar professions.