Raja Shamsher Sen with a Youth

In 1727 Shamsher Sen inherited the kingdom of Mandi in the western Himalayan foothills. Although he reigned for more than five decades, he was known for his weak character and strange behavior. The artist has rendered him with an intensely staring gaze directed at a young man, possibly his lover, who greets him in an attitude of respect. The king has smeared his forehead with ashes and has the triple lines on his throat that mark him as a devotee of the Hindu god Shiva. The inscription in the bottom margin and another on the verso identify him by name.

Watercolor on paper


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Cleveland Museum of Art

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