Sikh Art- Sri Harmandar Saheb Ji

Sikh art developed around middle of nineteenth century. It has  borrowed extensively from Hindu and Muslim traditions and art forms but depicted them in their own way and in a new setting. Not much research has been done on this highly developed form of art which has its own class. I know of very few references and one PhD thesis on the art work of Sri Harmandar Saheb Ji. But i could not find a copy of even this thesis for study, as it has not been published yet.

The decorations which fall  in the category of mural painting are floral patterns interspersed with animal motifs. The  painters (naqquash) of these patterns had developed a terminology of their own to distinguish various designs. Among these the most prominent is known by the name of ‘Dehin’.

‘Dehin’ is a medium of expression of the imaginative study of the artist’s own creation of idealised forms. Gharwanjh is the base of Dehin. This is also a decorative device involving knotted grapples between animals. In the Golden Temple are seen Ghawanj showing cobras, lions and elephants clutching one another, carrying flower vases in which fruits and fairies (/angels) have been depicted. Patta is a decorative border design used around the Dehin and often depicted through creepers. There are also compositions based on aquatic creatures.

Just a few of the examples of Dehin style are shown in the following pictures from the walls of Sri Darbar Saheb Ji:



One reference to this art form comes from Lahore in Pakistan, which can be seen on Wiki:


Author: namitajaspal
Namita Jaspal, with inherited skills of art and aesthetics and passion for science, opted to pursue post- graduation in ‘Conservation of Cultural Property’ after her graduation in Science from Delhi University in 1992. Four year intense training at National Museum Institute provided the right foundation to start a career in Conservation. She is currently practicing conservation consultancy for Heritage property including monuments and collections. She has been doing independent research in conservation techniques and procedures in Indian context. She is currently working on the conservation of wall-paintings of Sri Harmandir Sahib Ji (The Golden temple at Amritsar. The project is nearing completion and getting a lot of appreciation for the organized and ethical treatment it is providing. It is for the first time in the history of Sri Harmandir Sahib Ji (The Golden Temple) that wall painting conservation and preservation is being done in a scientific manner, keeping the codes of Ethics into consideration while decision making. Another project just completed is of the Conservation of Krishna Temple at Kishankot, Gurdaspur, Punjab. In her private Conservation Laboratory, she is not only providing onservation services, but also mentoring young aspiring conservators and archaeologists by the way of training and paid internships. She has been a guest lecturer at DIHRM (Delhi Institute of Heritage Research and Management). With all the updated knowledge database and innovative practical approaches relevant to the Indian conditions, she could successfully do curative and preservative treatment of very old textiles like a nine feet long flag from nineteenth century that is regarded as priceless memorabilia of second Dogra regiment at Chandi Mandir, and four hundred years old (seventeenth century) Chola Sahib Ji of Sixth Guru of Sikhs, Sri Hargobind Sahib Ji. Apart from this she has done conservation of Photograph collections, archival records, numerous paintings, manuscripts and other cultural objects. She is also involved in preparation of up-gradation proposals for museums and such organizations. Her expertise includes Conservation and preservation technologies and procedures for conservation of varied material like wall paintings, paper, photographs, textile, ceramics, stone, metal and archaeological objects.

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