EMPIRE OF THE SIKHS

A major exhibition presented by the UK Punjab Heritage Association (UKPHA) featuring a glittering collection of stunning objects and works of art that reveal the remarkable story of the Sikh Empire, and the European and American adventurers who served it.

 

A Golden Age of Empire

Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who became known as Sher-e-Punjab, the Lion of Punjab, over his forty-year reign, forged a fabulously rich empire encompassing a vast swathe of territory from the Khyber Pass across Punjab and Kashmir to the Tibet border.

Western visitors spoke of the splendour and dazzling displays of wealth on show at the Court of Lahore. The finery was matched by the development of a formidable army on par with that of the East India Company. 

 

The Lion's Firangis

The Sikh ruler was able to rise above communal prejudices, treating his subjects on an equal footing. Competent individuals from all backgrounds – Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Jewish – occupied senior posts as advisors, administrators, courtiers, generals and governors.

These included close to a hundred European and American adventurers and military men - known as 'firangis' (foreigners) - who helped modernise Maharaja Ranjit Singh's armed forces and administer the vast kingdom.

This gave rise to what was probably the most cosmopolitan court in the world at that time. 

 

A Major Exhibition

The story will be told through a glittering array of over a hundred works of art and objects from leading private collections and major institutions, including stunning jewellery and weaponry belonging to a number of historic figures such as Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Maharani Jind Kaur and General Hari Singh Nalwa.