A walk through and review of the Empire of the Sikhs Exhibition at the Brunei Gallery which ran during the summer in 2018.
SOAS University London is a World Class leading educational establishment for the studies of Asia, The Middle East, Africa.
The Brunei Gallery is in part of the SOAS Campus.
The Exhibition space had subtle lighting and a gallery upstairs with natural lighting. The peaceful visitors, studios respectful conscientious was also very pleasant.
The Empire of the Sikhs Exhibition is divided into these areas;
- Art, Patronage Discoveries
- King Maharaja Ranjit Singh
- Imperial Lahore
- The Lion of Punjab
- The People of Punjab
- Cosmopolitan Court 1820 Ranjit Singh
- Military Men the Firangis and 4 ex Napoleonic Men
- Adventurers, Medicine Men, Mercenaries
- Military Civil diplomatic Life
- The Darbar
- The Successors
- The Court
- End of Empire
- Anglo Sikh Wars Annexation Punjab
- The Sikh Empire 1799-1849
- Key people Ranjit Singh 1780-1839 known as the Lion of Punjab.
- Victorian Encounters
Books about Sikh culture, Books about India.
Onsite and online bookshop options
Finding books in a local library about the Empire of the Sikhs or the culture and art has proven challenging, thin on the ground.
The Exhibition has a bookshop, and there is a link to it here.
Also, some items are available on Amazon.
One of the featured books in the exhibition available as a gallery book to browse through is the colourful book of Art, “In Pursuit of Empire- Treasures From the Toor Collection of Sikh Art”.
This interesting book is divided into
-House of Nanak – 1469-1708
-A King in Everyday Saddle – 1708-1799
-Reign of The One Eye King – 1799-1839
-Clash of the Empires – 1839-1849
-Victorian Encounters – 1849 – 1900
The Exhibition has a quiz leaflet that can be filled in as one is going around the exhibition.
Some of the main highlights of objects featured in the Empire of the Sikhs Exhibition
19th C Jewelled Turban Ornament called a “Sarpech”
Made from Gold, emeralds, diamonds. Part of the Toor collection
Sir Henry Fane Commander in Chief of the British Indian Army and his daughter Isabella Fane were guests of Ranjit Singh Maharaja Lion of Punjab”. The occasion was Ranjit Singh’s grandson’s wedding. Kanvar Nau Nihal Singh. Ranjit Singh gave a gold bracelet as a gift to Isabella. This is on display in the exhibition.
Early to mid-1830s gold cabochon rubies.
Flower pendant earrings Maharani Jind Kaur 1830-40 Lahore.
Made from Gold, Diamonds, Emeralds, Pearl, Red spinel,
Necklace part of the collection of the last Queen of Punjab
Made from ruby, seed pearls, diamond, emerald 1830-40 Toor Collection.
The Necklace, that belonged to Maharani Jind Kaur.
Jewels from Lahore are legendary Koh-i-Noor Diamond and the Timur Ruby were given to Queen Victoria, after the annexation of Punjab. They can be found as part of the Crown Jewels Collection.
Gold Earrings Maharani Jind Kaur 1830-40
The Last Sikh Queen of the Punjab
Gold, seed pearls Toor Collection
19th C Jewelled Sword “Talwar”
Images of the ten Sikh Gurus, named in gold Gurmukhi lettering. details also show Ranjit Singh with his sons and court members
Collection of 1800s Swords “Talwar”
18th-19th century Quoits Steel and Gold used as weapons
They look a bit like a Frisbee with a hole in the middle used as a weapon. Guru Gobind Singh associated with its use. Used by the Shivite Ascetics.
Sikh Coins from the 1700’s
that show the progression of the Sikh culture gaining status to mint their own coins.
A mid-19th C Pashmina wool Kashmir Long Shawl
Art, texts, photographs
Gallery about postcards Themed “From Madras to Bangalore”
Pictures postcards as an urban history of Colonial India. They have put real postcards up fronts and backs, with old stamps and postmarks on with peoples handwriting. Interesting. They have been subdivided into categories too. People, religious buildings, Monuments, streets.
They date from the 1900’s to the 1930s.