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Guru Nanak's meeting with Mardana's son, from a manuscript of the Janam Sakhi (Life Stories)
Place of Origin: North India or Pakistan
Date: 1800-1900
Object Name: Manuscript page
Materials: Opaque watercolors on paper
Dimensions: H. 8 in x W. 6 5/8 in, H. 20.3 cm x W. 16.8 cm
Credit Line: Gift of the Kapany Collection
Department: South Asian Art
Collection: Books And Manuscripts
Object Number: 1998.58.40
On Display: No
Culture: Sikh

Description

Label: The musician Bhai Mardana was one of two constant companions of Guru Nanak. Mardana was born in the same village as Nanak, to a lower-class family of Muslim musicians. His key role in Janam Sakhi stories and his epithet of “brother” (Bhai) testifies to Nanak’s message of equality among all people, and he is typically shown in paintings seated beside the guru with a stringed instrument (rabab).

Mardana accompanied Nanak in his extensive travels, and is said to have died during their journey. According to some versions of the Life Stories, when Guru Nanak returned home, he personally went to Mardana’s family to inform them of the event and to offer his condolences. He is also said to have appointed Mardana’s son as his personal musician in his father’s place.

Guru Nanak is shown here consoling Mardana’s grieving son, Shahzada, in the foreground of the painting; a pastoral scene of village life is depicted in the background.
Label: The musician Bhai Mardana was one of two constant companions of Guru Nanak. Mardana was born in the same village as Nanak, to a lower-class family of Muslim musicians. His key role in Janam Sakhi stories and his epithet of “brother” (Bhai) testifies to Nanak’s message of equality among all people, and he is typically shown in paintings seated beside the guru with a stringed instrument (rabab).

Mardana accompanied Nanak in his extensive travels, and is said to have died during their journey. According to some versions of the Life Stories, when Guru Nanak returned home, he personally went to Mardana’s family to inform them of the event and to offer his condolences. He is also said to have appointed Mardana’s son as his personal musician in his father’s place.

Guru Nanak is shown here consoling Mardana’s grieving son, Shahzada, in the foreground of the painting; a pastoral scene of village life is depicted in the background.