Arts and Culture
The Sikh doctrine has long criticized idolatry since its late 15th century inception. However, single portraits of Guru Nanak are very popular among Sikhs today and are frequently hung on the walls of their temples and houses. These ambivalent attitudes towards portraits of Guru Nanak incur serious disputes among contemporary Sikhs. Thus, this paper explores the colonial transformation of Sikh identity with a special focus on portraits of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. During the British period, it is evident that the new upper class were formed across ethnicities in the Punjab region. The Sikh intellectuals likely became a patron of works of art based on traditional themes following the collapse of court patronage. In these circumstances, single portraits of Guru Nanak got painted in unique three quarter face and hung on Sikh`s walls. It is argued that Guru Nanak Dressed in an Inscribed Robe was painted at the Imam Bakhsh workshop in late 19th century Lahore in accordance with the investigation of its ornaments, style and environmental depiction. It is likely that portraits of Guru Nanak were initially hung on the walls of Sikh temples and were subsequently installed into secular places such as house and store. Eventually, it is demonstrated that Sikhs obtained a new identity in the colonial period, which has previously reinforced social cohesion in the Sikh community.