It is rightly said that “All art is in part about the world in which it emerged.” As part of a
North Indian hagiographic manuscript written in the 19th century, the miniature painting
analyzed in this essay depicts a miracle of the founder of Sikhism-Guru Nanak. This essay
will deconstruct the visual elements in the watercolor painting and link it to different styles of
miniature painting of that period. It will also attempt to answer a fundamental question
formulated by French art historian and archaeologist Oleg Grabar– can a work of culture be
meaningfully understood through the application of techniques developed outside of it? The
dynamism of icons and symbols due to cross-cultural influences is evident through this
Keywords: Janamsakhi, Guru Nanak, Mecca, sacred, symbolism.
Deconstructing a Janamsakhi Illustration: Guru Nanak in Mecca, from the Kapany Collection, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, USA – by Priyanka Panjwani – Click the PDF icon to view, right-click to save as.
|By Priyanka Panjwani|
B. Arch (India), MSc. Conservation (UK), PG Dip Indian Aesthetics (India)