Sawai Man Singh
Situated within the City Palace complex and nestled amidst older buildings, temples and the palace quarters, this museum was founded in 1959 by Maharaja
Sawai Man Singh II. The exhibits comprise of the ancestral collections built up by the successive rulers of
Amer and Jaipur, and are presently run by a public charitable trust.
A small selection of paintings, manuscripts, weapons and armours was displayed in the 'Pothikhana' (library) and the 'Silehkhana' or
armoury (both of these in their present form, were established in 1952) of the palace. However, the collection remained exclusive and was shown only to selective visitors and dignitaries with the special permission of the Maharaja. In 1959, this private museum consisting of the
Pothikhana and the Silehkhana was thrown open to public and a new Textile and Costume gallery was added to it.The Art Gallery is housed in the
Diwan-i-Aam constructed for holding important State functions.
A variety of objects-miniature paintings, illustrated manuscripts, decorated
bookcovers, palm-leaf and Sanchipat manuscripts, old printed books, gigantic
Mughal carpets, gold and silver Takhis-Rawan (movable throne), covered
Ambabadis and open Howdahs, palanquins and carriages with richly embroidered velvet coverings are displayed in this gallery. The museum has a splendid collection of miniature paintings including two unique and priceless manuscripts of the Persian translation of the two Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
The latter work, specially made for the use of Emperor Akbar, known as the 'Razmnama', contains illustrations made by the greatest
Mughal painters and is reported to have cost seventy two thousand gold
mohurs in 1584-85 AD. Besides the finest miniatures of Amer-Jaipur school, evident in the illustrations of the
Ragamala, Bhagavata Purana, Devi Mahatmya etc., good examples of early and later
Mughal schools, Deccanese schools and fair specimens from
Bikaner, Malwa, Bundi, Kota, Jodhpur, Kishangarh etc., are also represented. A fine collection of astronomical books in Arabic, Persian, Latin and Sanskrit acquired by
Sawai Jai Singh for study of the planets and their movements, an old copy of the
Ain-i-Akbari and its Hindi translation done in 1797 AD and a rare manuscript on 146 forms of
Saligram, Surdas' Padavali (contemporary copy) and the earliest copy of
Bihari's Satsai are also on display. This manuscript collection consists of nearly 16,000 volumes.
The large carpets displayed against the eastern and western walls of the art gallery were manufactured in the
Mughal carpet factories at Agra and Lahore during the reign of Emperor
Shahjahan. These are said to have been collected by Mirza Raja Jai Singh to decorate some of his newly-built palaces at Amer. Attention should be drawn here to the large
Kishangarh masterpieces of Raja Sawant Singh and Bani Thani personified as Krishna and Radha and to a set of big cloth paintings from Hyderabad and
Jaipur. Other objects on display in this section include book covers, paper cuttings, postage stamps and coins of the old
Jaipur State, old photographs and negatives, old furniture, glassware and other decorative objects of art.
The 'Silehkhana' or the Armoury of the museum is housed in a beautifully decorated suite of rooms. It has one of the largest and finest collections of edged weapons and antique handguns in the country. The edged weapons include swords, curved Persian
Unnas, slightly curved Mughal Shamshers, 'talwars', double-edged 'Khandas', pointed 'Guptis' and 'Asas', dagger-broad 'Jamdhars', curved 'Jamkhas', long and narrow 'katars',
hiltless 'hanbwas' and 'Chhuris', lances, axes, knives and arrows of various shapes and sizes.
Some of the swords are of great historical importance; there are two swords and a few with the names of Persian Emperors and
Mughal Generals engraved on them, and many personal weapons of Maharaja Ram Singh,
Madho Singh II etc.
The Textile and Costume section has a fine collection of the fine loom, woven and embroidered Kashmir shawls,
Kimkhabs (brocades) from Surat, Banaras and Aurangabad, the large variety of hand block prints from
Sanganer and other localities, the Bandhej (tie and dye) pieces from
Jaipur, Muslins from Dhaka, old embroidered rugs and tent-hangings, delicately embroidered and
applique rosary-bags, caps, Rath (a type of carriage) covers, Thal-Poshes (dish covers) royal paraphernalia, exquisitely embroidered costumes worn by the different Maharajas and their consorts, typical
Rajasthani costumes used over the ages and delicate Zari (gold thread) and Gota (gold or silver frill) works, for which
Jaipur has always been very famous.
The most noteworthy exhibit is perhaps the unusually large brocaded Jama (a robe) and
pyjama of Maharaja Madho Singh I. The Maharaja was no doubt of gigantic physical proportions. There is an equally large white muslin pleated
Jama and a huge silk covered Atamsukh worn by him, which is on display in the museum.