Tempera on paper
Inscribed in upper border in Takri ‘sri maharaja surya sen sam[vat] 1721 sha[ka] sam[vat] 40 svarga loka huye’
‘Maharaja Suraj Sen [who] reached his heavenly abode in samvat 1721’ [C.E. 1664]
Further inscribed on the reverse in Takri ‘sri raja suraj sen sam[vat] pravishte 31 likha sutaji.’
‘Raja Suraj Sen written in the year 1788 A.D.’
The current painting is a posthumous portrait of Raja Suraj Sen of Mandi (r. 1637-1664). The Raja is dressed in a red jama with an elaborate white green and gold sash tied around his waist. He wears an unusual red, blue and gold hat, a style typically worn by the Mandi rulers in the 17thcentury. His hat is ornamented with a gold, pearl and ruby sarpech, and an ornamental tassel. The ruler is seen seated on a diagonally striped rug of pink and red, adorned with regular flower motifs, at his back he is supported by a large bolster cushion. The Raja’s tulwar in a green scabbard rests behind him, a tiger headed dagger is tucked into his sash and he rests his left hand on a circular black shield. He sports a long curling moustache which almost joins his long sideburns. An attendant, dressed in plain white, stands behind him holding a peacock morchhal.
As with the portrait of Raja Sidh Sen the artist has chosen to present the Raja in the standard manner of 18thcentury royal portraits at the court. He is seated on a striped rug beneath a blue and white sky dotted with birds, but unlike the previous portrait the attendant figure stands behind the rug in a manner that makes the ruler appear to be raised on a dais. Furthermore, the background is predominantly coloured in a pale green, both features that make reference to elements of early royal portrait styles. Despite the fact that this works is dated to 1788 the artist has chosen to remain true to the norms or portraiture befitting the period in which Raja Suraj Sen reigned.