In Pursuit of Empire: Treasures from the Toor Collection of Sikh Art
By Davinder Toor • William Dalyrmple, Introduction
Two centuries ago, Punjab’s Sikh ruling elite lavishly patronised artists and craftsmen to enhance the extraordinary splendour of their flourishing empire. A sumptuous array of objects fit for Sikh kings, queens, warriors and saints were produced by skilled artisans to reflect a vibrant and potent new power on the world’s stage.
By the mid-19th century, the Sikh kingdom had met its demise at the hands of the British Empire. With the loss of Sikh patronage, artistic production switched to serve the tastes of the new colonial rulers, bringing to an end a unique cultural endeavour. Over the next century and a half, original Sikh artefacts gradually dispersed across the globe, often as official gifts, prized auction purchases and also as loot. Some of these remnants of empire ended up in institutional collections, while others were bartered and sold by collectors. Through the remarkable achievements of one such collector who pursued his passion to create the world’s finest private collection of Sikh art, this book reveals the lasting legacy of the Sikh Empire.
I started editing most of the reviews in 2016 because my PhD in English (a humblebrag if you’ve ever seen one) has to be put to use somehow. So I know “the about” all the books and how good they are, which is super cool in general but also terrible for my budget. And I’m the one insisting on the Oxford comma. It’s the hill I’ll die on. I would kidnap Lily the office dog if a) I didn’t have three cats, b) I don’t also love Heidi and Ross and would never hurt them, and c) I didn’t just make a public record of intent to commit a crime. I also help with posting articles to the websites and doing book round-up articles.