I was looking at the old pictures of Guru Gobind Singh Ji and Guru Teg Bahadur Ji. I found out that something is odd if we compare them with the modern depictions of both Gurus. I looked for other old paintings , see this too, and the difference was clear. If we compare these past paintings with modern religious paintings - 1, 2, 3, we see that the beard shape has been altered. In the old paintings, the beard was of U/V types, but in the modern depiction, it is of W type. It would seem very pedantic, but to me, this W shape beard is THE SIGNATURE to identify Gurus. This depiction is too widespread and popular. ( I would like to challenge to find a modern religious image of Guru Gobind Singh Ji without W shape beard.)

So, it looks very intentional, maybe to differentiate Gurus from other contemporary figures like Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb, Sambhaji etc. (site does not allow me to add more hyperlinks, but their old paintings looks very similar to that of Gurus.) Would like to know the history and motivations behind such a minute but important change. Any references related to it will be highly appreciated.

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    This is an excellent religious and cultural history question suited for the stackexchange format Commented Jan 23, 2022 at 0:54
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    You're probably onto something. Artistic representations of pre-modern historical figures that we don't have detailed contemporary descriptions of is nessecarily going to be very much representational, and if there's a beard style that screams "Guru", you can bet painters will be using it when painting historical gurus.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Jan 23, 2022 at 0:58


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