Online Collection

Collections



Asian Art Museum Logo
Mandodari admonishes her husband, the demon king Ravana, while Prince Rama and his allies convene outside the palace, from a manuscript of the Ramayana (Epic of Rama)
Place of Origin: India, possibly Madhya Pradesh state, former kingdom of Datia
Date: approx. 1605
Materials: Opaque watercolors and gold on paper
Style or Ware: Mughal
Dimensions: H. 10 1/2 in x W. 7 1/4 in, H. 26.7 cm x W. 18.4 cm
Credit Line: Gift of the Connoisseurs' Council with additional funding from Fred M. and Nancy Livingston Levin, the Shenson Foundation, in memory of A. Jess Shenson
Department: South Asian Art
Collection: Painting
Object Number: 2003.4
On Display: No

Description

Label:

After finally locating his abducted wife, Rama plans an assault on the island fortress of Lanka, where she has been imprisoned. As the threat of battle looms, several of Ravana's associates attempt to persuade the demon king to return Sita to her husband. Among them is Mandodari, Ravana's principal wife. In this painting Mandodari is accompanied by another woman, probably a maidservant, as she approaches Ravana in his palace chambers. Rama, identified by his blue skin, stands near his white-skinned brother Lakshmana in the lower-right-hand portion of this painting. The pair are joined by several of their monkey allies. Three of Ravana's demon guards patrol the palace and its grounds.

The earliest surviving illustrated manuscript of the Ramayana from South Asia was commissioned by the Mughal emperor Akbar (reigned 1556-1605) shortly after he ordered the text of the epic to be translated into Persian. The manuscript to which this page, as well as the one to your right, belonged is one of two early Ramayanas that were produced for members of the Mughal court. The manuscript's patron is believed to have been Maharaja Bir Singh Deo (reigned 1605-1627), ruler of the central Indian kingdom of Orchcha. Stylistic continuities between surviving pages of the manuscript and works produced in the imperial Mughal ateliers indicate that Bir Singh Deo employed some of the same artists.


More Information

Inscriptions: (गन्)तुम् ऐछद् [ऐच्छद्] अतिक्रुधः/ सर्वसैन्येन संक्षतः।
He [Ravaṇa], who was very angry,
desired to go surrounded by his whole army.

संग्रामम् अभिाक्षन्तं / रावणं श्रुत्यभाविनी।
तत्रोत्थाय [अभ्यगच्छत्/उपागमत्?] / नाम्ना मन्दोदरी तथा।।
So, the beautiful lady named Mandodarī,
standing up there,
[went] to Rāvaṇa who was desiring a fight.

प्रविश्य च सभां दिव्यां / प्रभया द्योतमानया।
दृष्टुं वै रावणं सा तु / मयस्य दुहिता- -।।
And shining radiantly,
the daughter of Maya
entered the divine assembly hall to see Rāvaṇa.

- - देवीं ततो राजा / प्रियां मन्दोदरीं तदा।
दृष्ट्वा ससंभ्रमस् तूर्णं/ परिष्वज्य दशानन:।।
So then, the King, ten-headed Rāvaṇa,
excited to see his beloved queen Mandodarī [who had come],
quickly embraced her.

अब्रवीद्व- - - - - /--गंभीरनिस्वनः।
किम् आगमनकृत्यं ते/ देवि शीघ्रं तद् उच्यतां।।
He then duly said in a very serious tone:
“O queen, please, quickly speak your reason for coming.”

एवम् उक्ते तु वचने/ देवी वचनम् अब्रवीत्।
- - - -व(?) राज्येन्द्र /याचेत् वाहं कृताञ्जलिः।।
when such words were spoken, the queen spoke this address:
“O Indra of Kings, with my hands folded in supplication,
I beg you—[listen to this request];
O proud one, I do not intend some offense in speaking.

नापराधश्च कर्त्तव्यो/ वदत्या मम मानदम्।
श्रुतामे(तद्)- - - -/ (संग्र)ामे राक्षसा हताः।।
The [city] is reported to me [as besieged].
The Rākṣasas are reported to me as killed—
as well the heroes alongside Dhūmrākṣasa and Prahasta.

धूम्राक्षसहिता वीराः/ प्रहस्तेन सहैव तु।
भवान् ऊ वै युद्धकामः/ - - - - निश्चय:।।
should not be questioned [with regard to going].
O Indra of Kings, my reason for coming is having reflected on this.

इति संचित्य राजेन्द्र/ ममागमनकारणम्।
नन्वयुक्तं प्रमुखतः स्थातुं/ तस्(य?)- - - - - - ।।
Surely, O magnanimous one, [in battle] it is not appropriate
for you to stand in front of Rāma,
whose wife, O illustrious one, was sullied by you.

(विप्र)स्य सुमहाभाग/ यसय भार्या हता त्वया।
क्व मानुषमात्रो 'सौ/ रामो दशरथात्मज:।।
Rāma, the son of Daśaratha, is not merely mortal.”
Exhibition History: "The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe," Asian Art Museum, October 21, 2015–January 15, 2017
Additional Label:

In stubbornness Ravana has few equals. Just as Rama and his forces are reaching his kingdom, and war is looming, several of those closest to Ravana seek to warn him to return Sita before it is too late.

In this episode Ravana’s beautiful and high-principled senior wife Mandodari tries to reason with her husband. She says, according to the inscription on the back of the painting,

O Indra of Kings, with my hands folded in supplication,
I beg you—listen to this request;
Surely, in battle it is not appropriate
for you to stand in front of Rama,
whose wife, O Illustrious One, was sullied by you.
Rama is not merely mortal.

Ravana scoffs, paying no attention to the warning. Most of his courtiers flatter him and encourage his willfulness.

At lower right we see Rama and his brother Lakshmana, together with several of their monkey allies.

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


Label:

After finally locating his abducted wife, Rama plans an assault on the island fortress of Lanka, where she has been imprisoned. As the threat of battle looms, several of Ravana's associates attempt to persuade the demon king to return Sita to her husband. Among them is Mandodari, Ravana's principal wife. In this painting Mandodari is accompanied by another woman, probably a maidservant, as she approaches Ravana in his palace chambers. Rama, identified by his blue skin, stands near his white-skinned brother Lakshmana in the lower-right-hand portion of this painting. The pair are joined by several of their monkey allies. Three of Ravana's demon guards patrol the palace and its grounds.

The earliest surviving illustrated manuscript of the Ramayana from South Asia was commissioned by the Mughal emperor Akbar (reigned 1556-1605) shortly after he ordered the text of the epic to be translated into Persian. The manuscript to which this page, as well as the one to your right, belonged is one of two early Ramayanas that were produced for members of the Mughal court. The manuscript's patron is believed to have been Maharaja Bir Singh Deo (reigned 1605-1627), ruler of the central Indian kingdom of Orchcha. Stylistic continuities between surviving pages of the manuscript and works produced in the imperial Mughal ateliers indicate that Bir Singh Deo employed some of the same artists.


Inscriptions: (गन्)तुम् ऐछद् [ऐच्छद्] अतिक्रुधः/ सर्वसैन्येन संक्षतः।
He [Ravaṇa], who was very angry,
desired to go surrounded by his whole army.

संग्रामम् अभिाक्षन्तं / रावणं श्रुत्यभाविनी।
तत्रोत्थाय [अभ्यगच्छत्/उपागमत्?] / नाम्ना मन्दोदरी तथा।।
So, the beautiful lady named Mandodarī,
standing up there,
[went] to Rāvaṇa who was desiring a fight.

प्रविश्य च सभां दिव्यां / प्रभया द्योतमानया।
दृष्टुं वै रावणं सा तु / मयस्य दुहिता- -।।
And shining radiantly,
the daughter of Maya
entered the divine assembly hall to see Rāvaṇa.

- - देवीं ततो राजा / प्रियां मन्दोदरीं तदा।
दृष्ट्वा ससंभ्रमस् तूर्णं/ परिष्वज्य दशानन:।।
So then, the King, ten-headed Rāvaṇa,
excited to see his beloved queen Mandodarī [who had come],
quickly embraced her.

अब्रवीद्व- - - - - /--गंभीरनिस्वनः।
किम् आगमनकृत्यं ते/ देवि शीघ्रं तद् उच्यतां।।
He then duly said in a very serious tone:
“O queen, please, quickly speak your reason for coming.”

एवम् उक्ते तु वचने/ देवी वचनम् अब्रवीत्।
- - - -व(?) राज्येन्द्र /याचेत् वाहं कृताञ्जलिः।।
when such words were spoken, the queen spoke this address:
“O Indra of Kings, with my hands folded in supplication,
I beg you—[listen to this request];
O proud one, I do not intend some offense in speaking.

नापराधश्च कर्त्तव्यो/ वदत्या मम मानदम्।
श्रुतामे(तद्)- - - -/ (संग्र)ामे राक्षसा हताः।।
The [city] is reported to me [as besieged].
The Rākṣasas are reported to me as killed—
as well the heroes alongside Dhūmrākṣasa and Prahasta.

धूम्राक्षसहिता वीराः/ प्रहस्तेन सहैव तु।
भवान् ऊ वै युद्धकामः/ - - - - निश्चय:।।
should not be questioned [with regard to going].
O Indra of Kings, my reason for coming is having reflected on this.

इति संचित्य राजेन्द्र/ ममागमनकारणम्।
नन्वयुक्तं प्रमुखतः स्थातुं/ तस्(य?)- - - - - - ।।
Surely, O magnanimous one, [in battle] it is not appropriate
for you to stand in front of Rāma,
whose wife, O illustrious one, was sullied by you.

(विप्र)स्य सुमहाभाग/ यसय भार्या हता त्वया।
क्व मानुषमात्रो 'सौ/ रामो दशरथात्मज:।।
Rāma, the son of Daśaratha, is not merely mortal.”
Exhibition History: "The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe," Asian Art Museum, October 21, 2015–January 15, 2017
Expanded Label:

In stubbornness Ravana has few equals. Just as Rama and his forces are reaching his kingdom, and war is looming, several of those closest to Ravana seek to warn him to return Sita before it is too late.

In this episode Ravana’s beautiful and high-principled senior wife Mandodari tries to reason with her husband. She says, according to the inscription on the back of the painting,

O Indra of Kings, with my hands folded in supplication,
I beg you—listen to this request;
Surely, in battle it is not appropriate
for you to stand in front of Rama,
whose wife, O Illustrious One, was sullied by you.
Rama is not merely mortal.

Ravana scoffs, paying no attention to the warning. Most of his courtiers flatter him and encourage his willfulness.

At lower right we see Rama and his brother Lakshmana, together with several of their monkey allies.

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