For centuries, Indian ascetics have dedicated themselves to religious teaching and worship. This image depicts a sage wearing a patchwork cloak and seated on an antelope skin. The subject, similarly represented in identified portraits, appears to be Guru Nanak (1469–1539), founder of the Sikh religion.
Artists of the Punjab region—encompassing parts of Pakistan and the Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh—began to illustrate Sikh subjects after Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780–1839) founded the Sikh empire in the area in 1801.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label