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Prince Rama, his brother Lakshmana, and their monkey allies battle the demon Ravana and his army, Ramayana, (Epic of Rama)
Place of Origin: India, Bihar state, Mithila region
Date: 1975-1982
Materials: Ink and colors on paper
Style or Ware: Mithila or Madhubani
Dimensions: H. 30 1/4 in x W. 72 in, H. 76.8 cm x W. 182.9 cm
Credit Line: Museum purchase
Department: South Asian Art
Collection: Painting
Object Number: 1999.39.41
On Display: No

Description

Label:

Rama and Lakshmana, assisted by an army led by the monkey king, engage in battle with Ravana and his forces. The battle takes place on the island of Lanka, where Ravana has imprisoned Rama's wife, Sita. The climactic confrontation between the demon king and the divine hero ends with the death of Ravana and the reunion of Rama and Sita.

This painting and the one to the right come from the region of Mithila, home to a distinctive form of domestic wall painting that is traditionally practiced by village women on the occasion of marriages and festivals. In the late 1960s the Indian government, aiming to preserve the tradition and empower the women of this historically underprivileged area, began encouraging them to create their paintings on paper. The efforts were successful, and Mithila painting, now practiced by both men and women, has become one of the best-known contemporary genres in Indian art. These two bold images from Mithila demonstrate the persistent Hindu devotion to Rama and the inspiration that the Ramayana continues to provide for artists in India.


More Information

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

Here Ravana’s and Rama’s forces engage in a thunderous struggle. Ravana rages in his full tenheaded, twenty-armed form. Rama and Lakshmana stand ready to fire arrows, and Hanuman, in front of Rama, attacks Ravana with the club that is his frequent weapon.

Crowding around the main characters are throngs of demon and monkey warriors. They are not easy to tell apart. It seems that monkeys have long noses and demons wedge-shaped noses. Of course monkeys have tails, too; some can be seen here.

This painting, from a rural tradition and only about forty years old, suggests how important the Rama epic has continued to be in most parts of India and in all segments of society.

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


Label:

Rama and Lakshmana, assisted by an army led by the monkey king, engage in battle with Ravana and his forces. The battle takes place on the island of Lanka, where Ravana has imprisoned Rama's wife, Sita. The climactic confrontation between the demon king and the divine hero ends with the death of Ravana and the reunion of Rama and Sita.

This painting and the one to the right come from the region of Mithila, home to a distinctive form of domestic wall painting that is traditionally practiced by village women on the occasion of marriages and festivals. In the late 1960s the Indian government, aiming to preserve the tradition and empower the women of this historically underprivileged area, began encouraging them to create their paintings on paper. The efforts were successful, and Mithila painting, now practiced by both men and women, has become one of the best-known contemporary genres in Indian art. These two bold images from Mithila demonstrate the persistent Hindu devotion to Rama and the inspiration that the Ramayana continues to provide for artists in India.


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

Here Ravana’s and Rama’s forces engage in a thunderous struggle. Ravana rages in his full tenheaded, twenty-armed form. Rama and Lakshmana stand ready to fire arrows, and Hanuman, in front of Rama, attacks Ravana with the club that is his frequent weapon.

Crowding around the main characters are throngs of demon and monkey warriors. They are not easy to tell apart. It seems that monkeys have long noses and demons wedge-shaped noses. Of course monkeys have tails, too; some can be seen here.

This painting, from a rural tradition and only about forty years old, suggests how important the Rama epic has continued to be in most parts of India and in all segments of society.

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