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Nazar painting: courtesan at a window drinking wine. Bikaner, dated 1772. By a master artist Ustad Hasan Ahmad* presented to Maharaja Gaj Singh (1723-87) on the occasion of Holi. Gouache and gold on paper. 15 x 10cm
Reverse with seal from Bikaner Royal Library and inscription:
Holiri nazar. Picture presented to Raja Sahib done by Ustad Hasan Ahmad of vatera samvat 1829. (1772 AD). With thanks to Dr Rakesh Sinha for translation. Nazar paintings were presented by the artist at court in celebration of festivals, etc. as a ceremonial gift.
*Most likely this is Hasan son of Ahmad - names given in inscriptions of Bikaner's Umrani family painters were often amalgams of father's and son's, as has been pointed out by Naval Krishna in 'The Umarani Usta Master-Painters of Bikaner and their Genealogy' in Andrew Topsfield, Court Painting in Rajasthan (Mumbai, 2000) p. 63. According to information in Shanane Davis' The Bikaner School: Usta Artisans and Their Heritage (Jodhpur, 2008) p.83, Hasan son of 'Ahmed' was the Usta or master artist around this time. This fits with the Jodhpur influences in the painting (I originally acquired it described as being from Jodhpur) as both Ahmed and his son Hasan were influenced by Jodhpur artists due to the close ties which had developed between the courts. (Krishna, p.59).
All images and text © Peter Blohm