Visual Translation of Guru Nanak’s Philosophy by Janamsakhi Illustrators

Gurdeep Kaur & Rohita Sharma

Department of Business and Fine Arts, Lovely Professional University, Phagwara, Punjab, India.  Email:

Received July 13, 2017; Revised September 25, 2017; Accepted September 28, 2017; Published October 12, 2017.

 Volume 1, Number 2, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/cjad.12.v1n202


From the second half of seventeenth century, the people of undivided Punjab started to appoint illustrators to draw the manuscripts of Guru Nanak’s life stories. The main purpose of illustrating the manuscripts was to understand and convey the Nanakian Bani and worship the Guru through the miniature visuals preserved at home. Janamsakhi texts and bani of Guru are also the rich source to understand northern Indian culture and society of fifteenth century. The paper attempts to link Guru Nanak’s life and bani with the miniature visuals to reread the illustrators’ interpretations merged with their own imagination and perceptions. The study concludes that the Janamsakhi illustrations are the amalgamation of various facts and fusions of cognitions and perspectives of different illustrators.

Key Words: Guru Nanak, Janamsakhi illustrations, illustrators, philosophy, Sikhism