Maharaja Abhai Singh Receiving Thakur Bhandari Girdhar Das
Jodhpur, circa 1725-1735
Opaque watercolor heightened with gold on paper
12 1/4 x 9 3/4 in. (31.1 x 24.8 cm.)
The collection of Robert O. Muller.
Christie’s New York, 14 September 2010, lot 203.
Rosemary Crill, Marwar Painting, a History of the Jodhpur Style (Mumbai: India Book House, 2000), p. 75, fig. 46.
Maharaja Abhai Singh (b. 1702) who ruled Jodhpur from 1724 to 1749, sits here larger than life on a silver throne, holding a small ceremonial whisk and an upright sheathed sword. Two courtiers stand behind him, one waving a morchal (a peacock-feathered whisk) as a symbol of his royal authority. He is receiving his thakur (vassal) Bhandari Girghar Das, a Rathore nobleman from a Marwari thikana or fiefdom who kneels respectfully at his feet.
Abhai Singh sits looking blatantly up past the petitioning vassal. He is dressed in a long, brilliant orange pleated jama with a gold floral designed patka and strands of pearls and precious gems weigh down his shoulders. His head is topped with a silk Rathore-style pagri that sports ornate jewels and pearls, surmounted by a fine sarpech, his bare feet resting on a small plinth.
The group is depicted like a frieze or still-life against the marble wall of a white pavilion with two swimming ducks and a fountain positioned below. He is depicted here in his full majesty and authority–still a relatively young man, probably in his late twenties.