Illuminated Guru Granth Sahib

ca. 1840, Benares
private collection

Produced at the height of the Sikh Empire this Granth represents the pinnacle of the Sikh manuscript tradition. Likely commissioned and produced for a wealthy Sikh merchant living in the city of Benares (Varanasi). The Granth contains 842 folios. Within a decade the decline of the Sikh manuscript tradition started with the end of the Sikh Empire, resulting in a loss of patronage for the scribes and artisans that produced such manuscripts. The appearance of the first printed copies of the Guru Granth Sahib in Punjab in the 1860’s further hastened the declining demand for hand-written copies of the Guru Granth Sahib.

 

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