Bakhat Singh Holds a Pink Rose
Artist/maker unknown, Indian
Bakhat Singh's life epitomizes the intrigue that permeated court life. A son of Maharaja Ajit Singh of Jodhpur, he murdered his father in 1724 so his elder brother could take over the kingdom. As a reward, Bakhat Singh was given the small neighboring state of Nagaur, which he ruled until he succeeded to the Jodhpur throne in 1751, just after this picture was painted and the year before he himself was poisoned. Rajasthani rulers were often depicted in large-scale, head-and-shoulders portraits, a format adopted from Mughal painting. However, the Rajput artists eliminated shading and emphasized outline and pattern to produce a more ideal and schematic portrayal. Only a few important individual traits were retained so the king could still be recognized. Here, the artist has carefully depicted Bakhat Singh's uncommonly heavy mustache and flat, Marwar-style turban.