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The demon king Ravana riding a mythical bird
Place of Origin: Indonesia, North Bali
Date: approx. 1800-1900
Materials: Colors and gold on wood
Dimensions: H. 38 in x W. 18 1/4 in x D. 18 in, H. 96.5 cm x W. 46.4 cm x D. 45.7 cm
Credit Line: Acquisition made possible by the Connoisseurs' Council and the estate of K. Hart Smith
Department: Southeast Asian Art
Collection: Sculpture
Object Number: 2010.18.2
On Display: No

Description

Label: This intricate and masterful Balinese sculpture depicts Ravana, demon king and principal opponent of Rama, astride a fierce bird. Here, Ravana’s twenty arms and ten heads have been reduced to one.

More Information

Exhibition History: "Bali: Art, Ritual, Perfomance," Asian Art Museum, February 2, 2011–September 11, 2011

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

If we expect Ravana to have multiple heads and pairs of arms, and to ride a donkeydrawn chariot, as he often does in India, we will not recognize him here. In Bali he is usually shown with a single head, and rides a demonic creature with the wings and tail, and sometimes other features, of a bird. This winged demon can be seen bearing Ravana in Indonesian temple reliefs from more than a thousand years ago.

Here Ravana carries a fabled sword he received from the god Shiva, which he used during the abduction of Sita to slice off the wings of the heroic vulture Jatayus, who was trying to protect her. His mount is, except for its hands, very birdlike, and the sculptor has gone to great effort depicting the textures and colors of its splendid plumage.

Little is known about how such figures were used in nineteenth-century Bali.

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


Label: This intricate and masterful Balinese sculpture depicts Ravana, demon king and principal opponent of Rama, astride a fierce bird. Here, Ravana’s twenty arms and ten heads have been reduced to one.

Exhibition History: "Bali: Art, Ritual, Perfomance," Asian Art Museum, February 2, 2011–September 11, 2011

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

If we expect Ravana to have multiple heads and pairs of arms, and to ride a donkeydrawn chariot, as he often does in India, we will not recognize him here. In Bali he is usually shown with a single head, and rides a demonic creature with the wings and tail, and sometimes other features, of a bird. This winged demon can be seen bearing Ravana in Indonesian temple reliefs from more than a thousand years ago.

Here Ravana carries a fabled sword he received from the god Shiva, which he used during the abduction of Sita to slice off the wings of the heroic vulture Jatayus, who was trying to protect her. His mount is, except for its hands, very birdlike, and the sculptor has gone to great effort depicting the textures and colors of its splendid plumage.

Little is known about how such figures were used in nineteenth-century Bali.

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