Gum tempera, ink, and gold on cotton cloth
Painting: 81.3 x 264 cm (32 x 103 15/16 in.)
Purchase and partial gift from the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection; Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 2018.120
The king is 17 years old, beardless, riding a dark brown steed in front of the camel at the far right.
Kangra is a small kingdom in the western Himalayan foothills that was historically ruled by one dynasty of Hindu kings since at least the AD 400s. The siege depicted in this painting shows the decisive battle when Sansar Chand (1765–1823), a descendant of the Kangra royal family, fought to retake his ancestral kingdom from the Mughals who controlled the territory since 1620. He succeeded in definitively ousting the Mughals the following year, in 1783, with the help of the Sikhs.
The leftmost panel shows the residents of Kangra fleeing the conflict with their belongings on their heads to the safety of the walled fortress at the far left, from the ramparts of which cannon are being fired. Sansar Chand’s forces advance from the right. The main temple, built of gray stone, is in the middle of the composition, marked by red banners.
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