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Learning History through Art – Sikh Rule in Kashmir

March 12, 2019 1 min read

I was never interested in the subject of history.

But in the past decade I have enjoyed many history lessons taught to me by artworks!

For instance I recently learnt about Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s conquest of Kashmir and how the Sikh empire extended all the way to Peshawar & Multan in the West and extended into Kashmir. Art in general, textile art & paintings in particular developed distinctively during the period of the Sikh rule.

Here is an example of illustrated manuscripts of the Bhagvat Gita – with illuminated paintings rendered in the Kashmir style, with the text written out in Gurmukhi!

A lovely example of migration of memes and superb example to learn history from!



Antique Sikh Manuscript Indian Miniature Painting Gurmukhi

This set of 10 illuminated manuscripts from the Bhagavat Gita with text in Gurmukhi, created during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh  is from the WOVENSOULS collection and may be viewed here.

Here are some similar folios from Christies:

1) CHRISTIE’S Sale 9917

2) CHRISTIE’S Sale 4018

If only our history teachers had had access to stories like these, they’d have had a much easier time turning us into sprightly excited learners instead of the sloth-like semi-comatose duffers we used to be during history class!


jaina mishra

wovensouls antique textiles gallery


Further Reading: Sikh Rule in Kashmir

Map By Jangvijay – This file was derived from: Sikh Empire.JPG, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54460107



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