Continuing traditions in the Panjab 1849-1900
After the turmoil of annexation, peace gradually returned to the Panjab and the arts were able to flourish at their traditional centres, particularly in the smaller Sikh kingdoms that remained.
Across the river Sutlej, beyond the borders of Ranjit Singh's empire, were the courts of Nabha, Jind, Kapurthala and Patiala. They had entered into a relationship with the British in the early 19th century that allowed them stability and, in the peace that came to the entire region after annexation, their rulers were able to concentrate on cultural pursuits.
Patiala became the most important Sikh kingdom of the Panjab, and Maharaja Narinder Singh one of the most significant artistic patrons. Murals were commissioned on a considerable scale for palaces, religious establishments and forts.
Miniature painting flourished, and illustrated manuscripts were produced. Many of the developments in the arts that took place during his reign served as a model for his successors at Patiala and also influenced the rulers of the other Sikh kingdoms.
Elsewhere in the Panjab, as the ravages of war gave way to a more settled existence, traditional crafts continued. Beautiful silks, and the embroidered cloths called 'phulkaris' (meaning 'flower work') were made all over the region; carved wood was inlaid with ivory at specialist centres like Hoshiarpur; the Panjab's goldsmiths continued to make deluxe rosewater sprinklers and other utensils. The continuing patronage of the Sikh kingdoms allowed many of these to survive into the 20th century.