Marriage Procession of Jai Singh of Guler
A young prince, Jai Singh, is depicted in a howdah riding an elephant. He is surrounded by attendants on foot and on horseback, one of whom rides beside him holding a chauri fly whisk above his head. This scene illustrates Jai Singh’s wedding procession, where three of his wives are carried ahead of him in individual palanquins. Further attendants surround each palanquin bearing chauri and morchhal fly whisks. The scene is lively and filled with groups of people, some leading animals including horses, cows, camels and a dog. A sense of perspective is achieved by rending those figures in the distance at a lesser scale. The colours are vibrant and well distributed across the painting; one’s eyes are naturally led to the principal figures of the scene due to the bright orange of the wives’ palanquins, and the large areas of orange highlighting the prince’s surrounding retinue.
Jai Singh was born in circa 1822 and became the 27th Raja of Guler from 1878 until 1884. There are a number of paintings illustrating Jai Singh at various stages of his life (see Archer vol II, pp.120-122). In this painting he would be in his early 20s. A similar scene illustrating his wedding procession is housed in the Chandigarh Museum, India, Guler Raj Collection, and dated to circa 1845[i].
Archer, W.G. Indian Paintings from the Punjab Hills: A Survey and History of Pahari Miniature Painting, vols I & II, Sotheby Parke Bernet Publications Ltd., London, 1973.
[i] Archer, vol I, p. 130