Embroidery from India and Pakistan, £10.99
Height: 295.000 mm
Width: 203.000 mm
Asia OA 1974.6-17.014(2)
Rama on Hanuman fighting Ravana, an album painting on paper
From Tanjore or Trichinopoly, Tamil Nadu,
Around AD 1820
Rama, the hero of the epic Ramayana, defeats the ten-headed demon Ravana
This painting depicts the climax of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, in which the god-hero Rama fights to rescue his wife Sita who had been abducted by the demon Ravana. The battle takes place on the island of Lanka. Rama is helped by the monkey-general Hanuman and his warriors and is shown here seated on Hanuman's shoulders firing a bow at the ten-headed and blue-skinned Ravana. Another monkey-warrior wrestles a demon-warrior to the ground.
The Ramayana is one of India's best-loved stories and has been depicted in paintings and sculpture for centuries. It is still re-enacted in dramas and even on television to this day.
This painting comes from an album produced in Tamil Nadu around 1820. Its colours, style, and indeed the subject matter are clearly local and southern Indian. However, the album is of European paper and bound. Other paintings in the album include festival processions from temples, schematic diagrams of south Indian temples and many other myths. It is not clear whether albums such as these were produced for local or European patrons.