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Guru Nanak and his companions Mardana and Bhai Bala
Place of Origin: India, Punjab state or Pakistan; Punjab province
Date: approx. 1700-1800
Materials: Opaque watercolors on paper
Dimensions: H. 8 1/2 in x W. 7 in, H. 21.6 cm x W. 17.8 cm
Credit Line: Gift of the Kapany Collection
Department: South Asian Art
Collection: Painting
Object Number: 1998.93
On Display: No
Culture: Sikh

Description

Label:

Guru Nanak (1469–1539), the saintly teacher and historical founder of Sikhism, is shown here in one of his most common representations, with his close companions Mardana (left) and Bhai ("Brother") Bala (right). Nanak was disheartened by the frequent conflicts between Hindus and Muslims that were common during his lifetime. He proclaimed the essential unity of the two faiths, and his teachings illuminate essential religious truths that originate in and transcend these spiritual traditions. Appropriate to his mission, two of his closest devotees were Mardana, born a Muslim, and Bala, born a Hindu.

Nanak, holding a book of sacred scriptures, is enthroned within a pavilion in a manner appropriate to a revered teacher. Mardana, playing a string instrument called a rebab, appears at the feet of the guru, perhaps playing the devotional religious music that was a charismatic part of Nanak's ministry. Bala, wearing an orange-colored robe suggestive of a devout Hindu, holds a peacock whisk and fans his teacher with reverence.


Label:

Guru Nanak (1469–1539), the saintly teacher and historical founder of Sikhism, is shown here in one of his most common representations, with his close companions Mardana (left) and Bhai ("Brother") Bala (right). Nanak was disheartened by the frequent conflicts between Hindus and Muslims that were common during his lifetime. He proclaimed the essential unity of the two faiths, and his teachings illuminate essential religious truths that originate in and transcend these spiritual traditions. Appropriate to his mission, two of his closest devotees were Mardana, born a Muslim, and Bala, born a Hindu.

Nanak, holding a book of sacred scriptures, is enthroned within a pavilion in a manner appropriate to a revered teacher. Mardana, playing a string instrument called a rebab, appears at the feet of the guru, perhaps playing the devotional religious music that was a charismatic part of Nanak's ministry. Bala, wearing an orange-colored robe suggestive of a devout Hindu, holds a peacock whisk and fans his teacher with reverence.