Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper
Page: 21.6 x 31.8 cm (8 1/2 x 12 1/2 in.); Miniature: 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
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.
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