No one is a Hindu; no one a Muslim.
With these radical words Guru Nanak (1469–1539) founded the Sikh religion, calling for the recognition of one God, by whatever name devotees chose to call him, and the rejection of superstition, avarice, meaningless ritual, and social oppression. Meditation and devotion were identified as the work of the private domain and charity, honest work, and service to humanity as the obligation to the social domain.
This compilation brings together and illuminates works of art that identify these core Sikh beliefs in the period of their early development by the ten historical Gurus (16th–17th centuries). Through them, we are taken behind the external signs that identify Sikhs, who constitute the world's fifth-largest organized religion, to its founding principles.
The works of art include paintings, drawings, textiles, and metalwork. They are drawn from museum collections in India and the United States and private collections in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The essay and object texts provide keen insight into early Sikh devotion and examine the works of art in the context of the North Indian cultural mix in which they were created.
About the Authors
B.N. Goswamy is a distinguished art historian, specialising in the history of Indian art. He has lectured extensively in Europe, the United States and India. He is currently Professor Emeritus at the Panjab University.
Caron Smith has written extensively on Asian Art and is a frequent traveler to China and India. She is currently Consulting Curator for the Crow Collection of Asian Art.