Himalayan pilgrimage of the five siddhas
From a series of the Kedara Kalpa
Guler, Punjab Hills; early 19th century
Opaque watercolor on paper
Cynthia Hazen Polsky Collection (8070-IP)
Attributed to the Lucknow/Faizabad artist Hunhar
Sultan Ibrahim ibn Adham of Balkh visited by angels
Opaque watercolor with gold on paper
Cynthia Hazen Polsky Collection (1009-IP)
Saints and Sadhus
Much of Indian art is devoted to celebrating nature and its energies
and to the joyous sides of human life; however, the corresponding
ascetic impulse, the renunciation of the world and its seductive
illusions, also forms a main strand of Indian life and culture.
Charismatic holy men—Muslim Sufi teachers, Hindu yogis,
or Jain acharyas—have been venerated by emperors,
sultans, and maharajas, as well as people of lesser rank.
Often sought out for their advice or blessing, such saints and religious
ascetics (sadhus) may live in a settled community or as
a solitary recluse in the wilderness, or they may wander the country
begging and giving instruction. In paintings and photographs on
view, dating from the sixteenth through the twentieth century, these
holy men are portrayed as they follow their spiritual path.