Equestrian portrait of Amar Singh II (r. 1698-1710) riding the horse Gira Baj

Historical period(s)
ca. 1697
Udaipur school
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
H x W (painting): 26 × 20.2 cm (10 1/4 × 7 15/16 in) H x W (overall (added)): 32 × 26.7 cm (12 5/8 × 10 1/2 in)
India, Rajasthan state, Udaipur
Credit Line
Purchase and partial gift from the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection — funds provided by the Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


horse, India, portrait, raja, Ralph and Catherine Benkaim collection

To 2011
Estate of Mr. Howell, U.K. [1]

Sale, London, Bonhams, Islamic and Indian Art, January 19, 2011, lot. 354: “Maharana Amar Singh (reg. 1698-1710) riding with an entourage of attendants on foot”

Shawn Ghassemi, San Francisco, California, purchased at auction “Islamic and Indian Art,” Bonhams, London, January 19, 2011, lot no. 354, “Maharana Amar Singh (reg. 1698-1710) riding with an entourage of attendants on foot”

From 2011 to 2018
Catherine Glynn Benkaim, Beverly Hills, California, exchanged painting with Shawn Ghassemi in May 2011 [2]

From 2018
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, partial gift and purchase from Catherine Glynn Benkaim [3]


[1] The painting was sold at Bonhams, London as the Estate of Mr. Howell of the United Kingdom. His son of the name consigned the painting to Bonhams.

[2] Catherine Glynn Benkaim exchanged her Kishangarh Radha and Krishna painting for this work from Shawn Ghassemi in May 2011.

[3] See Acquisition Consideration Form, object file, Collections Management Office.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Mr. Howell English
Estate of Mr. Howell
Shariar M. Ghassemi
Catherine Glynn Benkaim


Recto: Ghodi Girad Baj Pokhar Singhji
Mare Girad Raj [received from?] Pokhar Singh ji

Verso (top center): (Jotdan) 24/32; ki(mat) 4 rupee
Merwar Inventory no. 24/32; value 4 rupees
(bottom right corner)


In early modern north India, horses were invaluable in battle, and thus played a central role in the culture of the Kshatriya warriors who ruled and protected the kingdoms of Rajasthan. By the late seventeenth century, royal portraiture was on its way to becoming the primary genre of Rajput painting, and equestrian portraits were a key mode for representing the prowess and territorial control of kings. In this painting, a ruler of Mewar, haloed and wearing a gold jama, proceeds across a sage green ground on a favorite chestnut steed. The portrait depicts either Rana Raj Singh I (r. 1652-80) or his successor Rana Jai Singh I (r. 1680-98) of Mewar. However, it relates more closely to equestrian portraits of Raj Singh that bear the name of horse and ruler in inscriptions.

Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.