Rare jewels that belonged to Maharani Jindan Kaur, the last wife of Sikh Empire ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh, have been sold at Bonhams Islamic and Indian Art sale in London.
The precious jewellery that belonged to Maharani Jindan Kaur have been sold at an auction at Bonhams Islamic and Indian Art sale in London.
The regent of the Sikh Empire is a renowned figure not only in Sikhism but also in South Asian history. Maharani Jindan Kaur was popularly known as Rani Jindan.
The jewels which were later inherited by her granddaughter, Princess Bamba Sutherland, were among the highlights of an auction in London. A rare and large 19th century panoramic watercolour view of the Golden Temple was also included in the auction.
Tribune India reported, a collective lot of a gem-set gold forehead pendant, or chand-tikka, a gem-set gold mirrored roundel and a pearl-mounted gold pendant went under the hammer for over 62,500 pounds and other rare artefacts dating back to the 19th century also attracted many bids at the auction late last month.
“As the only surviving widow of Ranjit Singh, Jindan Kaur (1817-1863) led a spirited resistance to the encroachment of the British into the Punjab, but was eventually forced to surrender. More than 600 pieces of her jewellery from the legendary treasury of Lahore were confiscated, and she was imprisoned before escaping to Nepal in 1848,” notes Bonhams, in reference to the jewellery.
The auction house believes the jewellery in the sale this week was almost certainly within the casket of jewels handed back to Maharani Jindan Kaur by the British authorities when she agreed to live in London with her son, Duleep Singh, with whom she was reunited in Calcutta in 1861.
Although Prince Duleep Singh eventually returned to Lahore, his eldest daughter Princess Bamba remained in England, where she had been born and raised, and went on to attend Oxford University and medical school in the US. A frequent visitor to her ancestral home, the Princess eventually settled permanently in Lahore towards the end of her life, presenting the jewels to her companion and friend, Mrs Dora Crowe.
Oliver White, Bonhams Head of Islamic and Indian Art said: ”These are wonderful jewels in their own right, made more special still by their rich and fascinating history – the circular stoned gold and mirrored brooch was, according to Princess Bamba, formerly part of Maharajah Duleep Singh’s horse harness. They represent a remarkable link back to one of the richest treasuries in the world.”