The Indian Royal Dynasties Dominate the Global Art Market

The Indian Royal Dynasties Dominate the Global Art Market
The Indian Royal Dynasties Dominate the Global Art Market

Once upon a time, in a united India, the royal families and their culture were revered. These families were well-known for supporting many local artists and craftspeople, in addition to living a life of extreme luxury. In recent decades, as India has undergone a metamorphosis into a new India, the current royal dynasties have also made great strides by promoting this indigenous art form on an international scale.

The role of royalty in India was reduced to a mere ceremonial one after its abolition in 1971 and the formation of a federal government. The cultural tapestry of India, however, still includes numerous royal families. Following in the footsteps of their famously artsy ancestors, the younger generation of this family is fighting for the preservation of cultural artifacts and bringing back long-lost practices in fields as diverse as architecture, painting, handloom weaving, and more.

Beadwork of Gujarat
Kota Miniature
Maheshwari Saris

Beadwork of Gujarat

Indian Royal Dynasties Dominate the Global Art Market - Beadwork of Gujarat
Indian Royal Dynasties Dominate the Global Art Market - Beadwork of Gujarat

Princess Brijeshwari Kumari Gohil inherited a deep devotion to her ancestry from her family's royal lineage in Bhavnagar, in the western Indian state of Gujarat. Sihor is a municipality in Bhavnagar and the seat of her ancestors. The young heiress is using technology to make the interesting past of Sihor accessible to the public. She is a descendant of Maharaja Raol Thakore Sahib Takhtsinhji Jaswantsinhji Sahib, who governed Bhavnagar from 1870 to 1896. For the sake of future generations and historians, the 28-year-old is digitizing the artworks, manuscripts, letters, registers, books, and even furniture housed at her Bhavnagar castle as part of her effort.

Among the sites that Gohil's family has worked to preserve are the Narayani Heritage, the Gopnath Bungalow, and the Nilambag Palace, which is among the oldest heritage hotels in Gujarat. A boutique store showcasing local arts and crafts, including beading, is located within the palace. The metalworkers of Sihor are a particular emphasis because they are fighting for the survival of their profession as a result of falling demand.

The princess and her team have been able to investigate and resurrect old artifact designs thanks to her master's degree in heritage preservation from Durham University in the UK. This has created employment opportunities for underprivileged craftspeople, allowing them to regain their ancestral livelihoods. In addition to establishing a market for handicrafts and piquing the interest of the younger generation in local heritage, the program has raised awareness about the arts in Sihor. Rising demand in India, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Europe, etc. has put this art form back on the map.

Kota Miniature

Indian Royal Dynasties Dominate the Global Art Market - Kota Miniature
Indian Royal Dynasties Dominate the Global Art Market - Kota Miniature

A young investment banker with a degree in economics and business from Cornell University, Jaidev Singh is a descendant of the Rajasthani Royal Kota family, which dates back to the 13th century. But right now, all he wants is to make Kota a tourist hotspot. The fact that Kota remains "undiscovered" is something he laments, especially because Rajasthan receives its share of tourists.

Not only does Singh's family live in the magnificent Brijraj Bhawan Palace Hotel, but they are also actively involved in its maintenance as a boutique hotel.

He is also lending his support to the local artists who are creating the renowned miniature paintings of Kota, an art form that has been ignored by the government. Singh is helping to restore some of Kota's most historic cenotaphs because he is passionate about historical architecture. The region of Kota, a city in Rajasthan situated along the Chambal River, is the birthplace of Kota Tiny, also known as "Kota Kalam" among locals.

The modern style of this art genre is based on European miniature painting. The clothing of the human characters is soft and luxurious, in contrast to their precise details. The humans in the story stand out because of their unique characteristics, which include almond-shaped eyes, thin and pointed brows, oval or almost round cheeks, and long, pointed noses. The royal family's efforts to get this art presented on a global platform have resulted in significant demand from the Western world for it.

Maheshwari Saris

It is the firm belief of Yeshwant Holkar, grandson of the final Maharaja of Maheshwar in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, that the preservation of cultural legacy has a multiplicative effect. This 42-year-old runs a trio of stunning history homes that have been transformed into hotels. Two of these properties are located in his native state, and the third one is in Goa.

Holkar is also involved in initiatives to promote Maheshwar's famous handlooms, such as the Maheshwari saris which have attracted the interest of international stars like Elizabeth Hurley and Pamela Anderson. To that end, members of the Holkar family have established two charitable organizations: Rehwa Society, which advocates for the preservation of traditional handloom fabrics, and Women Weaves, which modernizes these age-old weaves for export from India.

Royal families are doing more than just providing a platform for local craftspeople and artists; they are also helping to put them on the map internationally. Were it not for these families' generosity, our priceless art form would have died out long ago, relegated to the pages of books for future generations. The government must step in to support these artistic areas if they are to continue growing.


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