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Rama kills the demon warrior Makaraksha in combat, from a manuscript of the Ramayana
Place of Origin: India, Himachal Pradesh state, former kingdom of Guler
Date: approx. 1790
Materials: Opaque watercolors on paper
Dimensions: H. 8 in x W. 12 in, H. 20.3 cm x W. 30.5 cm (image); H. 9 13/16 in x W. 13 7/8 in, H. 24.9 cm x 35.2 cm (overall)
Credit Line: Gift of Margaret Polak
Department: South Asian Art
Collection: Painting
Object Number: 1992.95
On Display: No

Description

Label: The Ramayana, the epic that inspired this scene, is the story of Rama, a form of the Hindu god Vishnu. A significant portion of the text details Rama's battle against the demon-king Ravana, who has abducted Rama's wife. The blue-skinned Rama here readies his bow against a group of demons. In the painting's distance and in the left foreground, troops of loyal monkeys and bears rally to his aid. Ravana, identified by his multiple heads and arms, sits in the citadel pictured in the upper-right corner.

The Yuddha Kanda (Book of the Battle), the sixth section of the Ramayana, describes the great clash between Rama and Ravana, along with their respective armies, on the island fortress of Lanka:

"Thereafter a furious struggle ensued between the monkeys and the demons, and those redoubtable warriors of ferocious aspect sought to bring about each other's destruction. . . . Trees, stones, and javelins clashed with tremendous noise, striking terror in the hearts of the listeners, and the appalling clatter of chariot wheels, the twanging of bowstrings, the blare of trumpets, the roll of drums, and the booming of gongs created an indescribable uproar."

- Quotation adapted from The Ramayana of Valmiki, translated by Hari Prasad Shastri, 1970.

More Information

Inscriptions: Hindi numbers for 166
Exhibition History: "Deities, Demons, and Dudes With 'Staches: Indian Avatars by Sanjay Patel," Asian Art Museum, November 11, 2011– April 22, 2012

"The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe," Asian Art Museum, October 21, 2015–January 15, 2017
Additional Label:

The war against Ravana to rescue Sita goes on through battle after battle, often described in detail. This painting shows one such battle. Rama faces the only foe besides Ravana that he takes on in one-toone combat.

At the upper right corner, inside the palace, Ravana commands the demon Makaraksha (shown as blue) to attack. Makaraksha mounts his chariot, then reappears below the ridge riding into the fray against the valiant monkeys who hurl tree limbs and huge boulders at him. Makaraksha emerges at the bottom right, now on foot because his white horses have been killed and his chariot smashed. He has just thrown a three-pointed lance at Rama. Finally, Rama’s arrow pierces Makaraksha’s heart and he falls to his death. The dead demons in the foreground, the broken tree trunks, and the scattered boulders emphasize the intensity of the battle.

(Exhibition Label from The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe)


Label: The Ramayana, the epic that inspired this scene, is the story of Rama, a form of the Hindu god Vishnu. A significant portion of the text details Rama's battle against the demon-king Ravana, who has abducted Rama's wife. The blue-skinned Rama here readies his bow against a group of demons. In the painting's distance and in the left foreground, troops of loyal monkeys and bears rally to his aid. Ravana, identified by his multiple heads and arms, sits in the citadel pictured in the upper-right corner.

The Yuddha Kanda (Book of the Battle), the sixth section of the Ramayana, describes the great clash between Rama and Ravana, along with their respective armies, on the island fortress of Lanka:

"Thereafter a furious struggle ensued between the monkeys and the demons, and those redoubtable warriors of ferocious aspect sought to bring about each other's destruction. . . . Trees, stones, and javelins clashed with tremendous noise, striking terror in the hearts of the listeners, and the appalling clatter of chariot wheels, the twanging of bowstrings, the blare of trumpets, the roll of drums, and the booming of gongs created an indescribable uproar."

- Quotation adapted from The Ramayana of Valmiki, translated by Hari Prasad Shastri, 1970.
Inscriptions: Hindi numbers for 166
Exhibition History: "Deities, Demons, and Dudes With 'Staches: Indian Avatars by Sanjay Patel," Asian Art Museum, November 11, 2011– April 22, 2012

"The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe," Asian Art Museum, October 21, 2015–January 15, 2017
Expanded Label:

The war against Ravana to rescue Sita goes on through battle after battle, often described in detail. This painting shows one such battle. Rama faces the only foe besides Ravana that he takes on in one-toone combat.

At the upper right corner, inside the palace, Ravana commands the demon Makaraksha (shown as blue) to attack. Makaraksha mounts his chariot, then reappears below the ridge riding into the fray against the valiant monkeys who hurl tree limbs and huge boulders at him. Makaraksha emerges at the bottom right, now on foot because his white horses have been killed and his chariot smashed. He has just thrown a three-pointed lance at Rama. Finally, Rama’s arrow pierces Makaraksha’s heart and he falls to his death. The dead demons in the foreground, the broken tree trunks, and the scattered boulders emphasize the intensity of the battle.

(Exhibition Label from The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe)