Heritage and the Politics of Culture
The outstanding Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh (r. 1799-1839) died ten years before the British annexation of the Punjab in 1849. His funerary monument or samādhi is located next to the Lahore Fort, where the Maharaja lived. The structure is the last state funded project of the Lahore Darbār and represents a high point of nineteenth century Sikh architecture, second only to the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
This book analyses the architecture and embellishments of the Maharaja’s samādhi, comparing them with contemporary and earlier Mughal, Rajput or Hindu practices. Media included are carving in red sandstone, white marble and wood, inlay in white marble, mirror mosaic and frescoes. The conclusion emphasises singular aspects of Sikh period art and architecture to establish a new cultural identity unique to Sikh aesthetics.