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Unique Specimens of Sikh Period Wall Paintings in Maharaja Ranjit Singhs Samadhi

18/3/2011 to 18/3/2011

Public Lecture by Nadhra Shahbaz Naeem Khan (SOAS Charles Wallace Fellow 2011-12)

Maharaja Ranjit Singh's Samadhi was commenced by his eldest son Kharak Singh after his death in 1839 but completed by the British after annexation of the Punjab. It is now part of the Dera Sahib complex that lies to the west of Lahore Fort, north of the Badshahi Mosque and Hazuri Bagh, and adjacent to the Roshnai Gate; one of the 13 gates of the walled city of Lahore.

Out of the 48 iconographic frescoes in the interior of the Samadhi, 24 are painted in the zone of transition at the base of the dome that crowns the central double-height hall and another set of 24 are on the first floor on the intrados of the arched ambulatory gallery. These are unique specimens of Sikh painting and their programme reveals a well-planned sequence at each level. Other contemporaneous examples are found in the Sikh additions to the Sheikhupura Fort, Bhai Vasti Ram's Samadhi near the Lahore Fort, and Naunehal Singh's haveli in Lahore. They do not follow the well-planned sequence that we see at Ranjit Singh's Samadhi and the quality of most of the frescoes in the Fort and the haIveli is not as fine. The evolving plan of iconography could have flowered into a more sophisticated programme had the political situation of the Punjab allowed for more similar enterprises.

Dr Nadhra Shahbaz Naeem Khan teaches History of Art at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan. She is currently at SOAS as the Charles Wallace Pakistan Fellow 2011. Her areas of interest are Mughal and Sikh period Art & Architectural Ornament.

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Time: 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Location: Hochhauser Auditorium, Sackler Centre, Victoria and Albert Museum SW7 2RL

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