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Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India

Thu Oct 18 2018 – Mon Jan 21 2019

Seattle Art Museum

Simonyi Special Exhibition Galleries

Centuries of royal treasures from Jodhpur, India, come to the United States for the first time in the new exhibition Peacock in the Desert.

Imagine yourself in the luxuriant royal spaces of India’s historic courtly life. Resplendent with brilliant paintings, lavishly made ceremonial objects, finely crafted arms and armor, sumptuous jewels, and intricately carved furnishings, Peacock in the Desert will transport you to the royal palace of Jodhpur, India.

Nearly four centuries of artistic creation from one of the largest former princely states in India, the kingdom of Marwar-Jodhpur in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, will fill SAM’s galleries. Some 250 paintings, decorative arts, tents, canopies, carpets and other textiles, jewelry, and weapons will be presented beside large-scale photomurals which evoke the stunning setting of the Mehrangarh Museum in Jodhpur.

Many of these masterpieces and relics have not been seen beyond palace walls and most have never traveled to the United States. These treasures trace the evolving historical framework of royal identity in India from the 17th century to the establishment of independence after 1947 and reflect the artistic legacy of the Rathore dynasty, who ruled the Marwar-Jodhpur kingdom for more than seven centuries.

Drawn primarily from the collections of the Mehrangarh Fort Museum of Jodhpur and private collections of the Jodhpur royal family, this evocative exhibition illuminates hundreds of years of Indian courtly life.

Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in collaboration with Mehrangarh Museum Trust, Jodhpur, India.
Image: Maharaja Abhai Singh on Horseback, c. 1725, Dalchand, Jodhpur, opaque watercolor and gold on paper, Mehrangarh Museum Trust, photo: Neil Greentree.