Sunday, 4 October 2009

Historical Sikh Prayer Book to be auctioned by Bonhams

Historical Sikh Prayer Book to be auctioned by Bonhams

Rahul Chatwal, Punjabinewsline, London

Bonhams of London are to auction a rare Sikh illustrated manuscript with four paintings of the Sikh Gurus.

Hand written in Lahore or Amritsar, dating from the mid-19th Century, the manuscript is lavishly illustrated with depictions of the Sikh Gurus, including Guru Nanak Dev ji and Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
Probably commissioned by a wealthy Sikh devotee, it is expected to sell for £3,000 – £5,000.

Compositions include The Japji Sahib and Sukmani Sahib. A manuscript of a similar nature can be seen in the collection of the British Library, London. The Sale will take place at Bonhams' next Indian and Islamic sale on October 8, 2009 at New Bond Street.

Description from Bonhams

A Sikh illustrated religious manuscript with four paintings of the Sikh Gurus
Lahore or Amritsar, mid-19th Century.

gurmukhi manuscript on paper, 556 leaves, seven lines to the page written in black ink, ruled margins in orange, black and red, four miniatures in the Kashmir style, oblong format, staining and creasing, green cloth binding, worn
137 x 183 mm.

The miniatures include depictions of Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh (the first and tenth Gurus). The manuscript consists of selections from various Sikh texts, including the Japji Sahib, which is the opening of the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book, consisting of the Mool Mantra followed by thirty-eight hymns and (here) a closing Salok. Also included are the Sukhmani Sahib, composed by Guru Arjan, the fifth Guru, and the Kirtan Sohila, by Guru Nanak, Guru Ram Das and Guru Arjan. Finally there are hymns by the fourth, ninth and tenth Gurus.

For a general discussion of the Guru Granth and the Sikh religion in general see N.-G. Kaur Singh, 'The Sikh Religion', in S. Stronge (ed.), The Arts of the Sikh Kingdoms, London 1999, pp. 33-45.

Link to Bonham Site and item


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