Fragment from Maharaja Pratap Singh with ladies of the royal harem

Artist: Sahiba Ram (ca. 1740-1800)
Historical period(s)
Kachavaha dynasty, 1780-1800
Jaipur Court
Rajput School
Opaque watercolor, silver, and gold on paper
H x W: 46.4 x 44.5 cm (18 1/4 x 17 1/2 in)
India, Rajasthan state, Jaipur
Credit Line
Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds
Arthur M. Sackler Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


drinking, harem, hookah, India, Kachavaha dynasty, maharaja, smoking
Provenance research underway.

This fragment from what was once a full-size portrait of the Jaipur ruler Pratap Singh (reigned 1779-1803) focuses the viewer's attention on the royal women who cluster around the king's body. With hands decorated in red henna, the women grasp gold wine flasks, lift drinking cups to smiling lips, and caress their sinuous tresses. In court painting as well as poetry, the beautiful women who attended a king were testaments to his charisma and power.

The Sackler fragment offers a rare opportunity to view the work of Sahiba Ram. Many Jaipur paintings, and certainly ones of this caliber, remain inaccessible within the collection of that Rajasthan court.

Published References
  • Masters of Indian Painting. Exh. cat. Zurich. vol. 2: pp. 623-640, fig. 7.
  • Thomas Lawton, Thomas W. Lentz. Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. vol. 1 Washington, 1998. pp. 198-199.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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