The ten Sikh Gurus, representing the guru-lineage of Baba Priyatam Das Udasi, 1780

The ten Sikh Gurus, representing the guru-lineage of Baba Priyatam Das Udasi, 1780


Gouache heightened with gold, Hyderabad

A3 (297mm x 420mm)
170 gsm illustration printing paper (specially chosen for its excellent anti-aging and anti-yellowing properties)
This print is a faithful reproduction of the original
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About the Print

This beautiful work of devotional art is the earliest known painting showing all ten Sikh Gurus together. It was probably commissioned by the sahajdhari Sikh, Lala Nanak Ram (shown bottom-left, with moustache) in commemoration of his meeting with Baba Priyatam Das Udasi (bottom-right, seated) in the late 1770s. The Hyderabad official stands with his son, Lakhpat Rai (both identified in gold-lettered Nasta’liq script), with hands clasped in homage to the holy man, a prominent leader of the Udasis ('detached'). Sikhs of this order devotedly followed in the footsteps of Guru Nanak, carrying his teachings into the farthest corners of Hindustan.

The inclusion of all ten Sikh Gurus, beginning with Guru Nanak (seated under the tree dressed in a patchwork gown) and ending with Guru Gobind Singh (bottom-right), and the faithful rababi, Bhai Mardana, clearly conveys the Udasi's spiritual leanings.

Nanak Ram's nephew and mentee, Raja Chandu Lal (1766-1845), later rose to the position of prime minister, enjoying power as the state's virtual ruler. He was also the foremost patron of the famous shrine or takht at Nanded, which marked Guru Gobind Singh's final resting place, and proved to be an important ally of the nascent Hazoori Sikh community.

Image credit: © Photo Digital Image Museum Associates/LACMA/Art Resource NY/Scala, Florence, 2012

Print series: Hazoor Sahib

Published in: In the Master's Presence: The Sikhs of Hazoor Sahib (Vol. 1) by Nidar Singh Nihang & Parmjit Singh