Asian Art Museum: the Sikh Gallery

Happy Free First-Sundays! The Asian Art Museum was free to the public today, so I went upstairs to see the only permanent collection of Sikh art in North America, donated by Dr. N.S. Kapany.

A series of paintings follow the travels of Guru Nanak, the first guru, and his two life-long companions, a Hindu convert named Mardana and a Muslim convert Bala. I had a bit of a laugh because it seems in each of their adventures, Mardana falls into some misfortune and Guru Nanak gets to save him. Here, Mardana is swallowed by a big fish – Guru Nanak convinces the fish to give him up. There, Mardana is about to be boiled and cooked by cannibals – just in time Guru Nanak rescues him and the cannibals from their sin. And, oh, no, Mardana is turned into a goat by witches! But, of course, Guru Nanak holds sway over the witches and saves his hide yet again.

Meanwhile, Bala the musician looks on.

I neglected to take pictures, so you’ll have to visit the museum and see for yourself. 🙂

– Sarah