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In Pursuit of Empire

Treasures from the Toor Collection of Sikh Art

By: Davinder Toor

Price: CAD $64.95

Publisher: KASHI HOUSE

Imprint: Kashi House

208 Pages

11.3 X 11.3 X 1.34 ins

ISBN:  9781911271031 -- Hardcover

Publication Date: 09/20/2018

The story of the meteoric expansion of the Sikh Empire in the late 18th century and its devastating collapse half a century later told through a stunning assemblage of 100 rare and beautiful objects from the world's finest private collection of Sikh art.

Two centuries ago, Punjab's Sikh ruling elite lavishly patronised artists and craftsmen to enhance the splendour of their empire. From the corridors of power at the royal court to the parade grounds where recruits were drilled in French military manoeuvres, 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.

By 1849, 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 following 150 years, Sikh artefacts gradually dispersed across the globe, often as official gifts and prized auction purchases but also as loot. While some went into institutional collections, others were 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, In Pursuit of Empire reveals the lasting legacy of the Sikh Empire.


Davinder Toor, a qualified Optometrist who runs a pharmaceutical business, is a leading figure among a new generation of Sikh art collectors. He was featured along with the Toor Collection on the BBC's 'Lost Treasures of the Sikh Kingdom' documentary (2014). He has acted as a consultant to several private collectors, auction houses and major institutions, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, British Museum and Wallace Collection. He currently lectures on the arts of the royal Sikh courts for the Victoria & Albert's prestigious 'Arts of Asia' course. Objects from the Toor Collection have been exhibited at major global institutions including at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung (Munich), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Asian Art Museum (San Francisco), Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Brunei Gallery (London).



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