Gum tempera, ink, and gold on paper
Page: 21.6 x 31.8 cm (8 1/2 x 12 1/2 in.); Image: 18.4 x 28.9 cm (7 1/4 x 11 3/8 in.)
Purchase and partial gift from the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection; Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 2018.107
The Ramayana of Valmiki describes Shurpanakha as hideous, misshapen, and potbellied with hair the color of copper.
In one of India’s major Hindu epics, the Ramayana, the god Vishnu incarnated himself as the hero Rama in order to defeat the powerful demon Ravana, who has 20 arms and 10 heads, seen in the boat at the upper right. This scene takes place on the island of Lanka, Ravana’s capital, surrounded by a golden brick wall and populated by his demon minions. Just inside the door, Ravana’s sister, the demoness with crimson hair, is demanding that her brother avenge the severing of her nose by Rama’s brother. Ravana decided then to abduct Rama’s wife, Sita, the act that propelled the climactic battle.
The place where this important, extensive Ramayana series was painted remains uncertain. Scholars have argued for one or another Pahari court, but no definitive evidence has yet come to light.
The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.
All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.