Gum tempera, gold, and silver on paper
Painting: 55.5 x 79 cm (21 7/8 x 31 1/8 in.); Overall: 56.3 x 81 cm (22 3/16 x 31 7/8 in.)
Gift of George P. Bickford 1966.143
Ravana’s wives take the forms of beautiful women and fearsome demonesses.
The viewer is cut off from Lanka by the surrounding sea and the city’s golden walls in this expansive composition probably intended for courtly display This choice of perspective cleverly emphasizes the captivity of the Sita, faithful wife of the hero Rama. She kneels beneath an ashoka tree, guarded by demonesses. The princess’s abductor, the ten-headed and twenty-armed demon lord of Lanka, Ravana, appears twice in the image. In the palace, he consults his council of minions. At the right, he hears Sita’s refusal to marry him. Ravana neither harms her, nor sets her free.
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