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popular print / album

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    2003,1022,0.36

  • Description

    Album of popular prints mounted on cloth pages. Colour lithograph, lettered, inscribed and numbered 36 depicting a scene from the Ramayana. Rama is shown about to offer his eyes to make up the full number - 108 - of lotus blossoms needed in the puja that he must offer to the goddess Durga to gain her blessing. See 2003, 1022,0.48 for a comparable image from the same series.

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  • Producer name

  • Date

    • 1895 (circa)
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 40.5 centimetres (sheet)
    • Width: 30.3 centimetres (sheet)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        lettering
      • Inscription Script

        Bengali
      • Inscription Position

        lower border
      • Inscription Language

        Bengali
      • Inscription Comment

        Publisher's name, address and title of the work.
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Roman
      • Inscription Position

        lower border
      • Inscription Language

        English
      • Inscription Content

        Untimely worship of Durga by Ram.
      • Inscription Comment

        Title and numbered 37 - crossed out and re-numbered 36.
  • Curator's comments

    Lithography was gaining momentum as a medium for picture production in the 1870s, and several studios operated in Bengal producing popular prints for the mass market. Hand-written captions in English have been added to the Bengali letter-press of the majority of the prints (some letterpress also in Hindi). The majority of the chromolithographs in this album were produced in Calcutta and reflect Bengal devotional cults; the final four prints were published by the Ravi Varma Press from Lonavla, c. 1910.

    Blurton, 2006: pp. 74-5:
    "...in order to finally defeat Ravana [in the final battle of the Ramayana], Rama had to invoke Durga as the goddess of battle and, because it was not spring at the time, he was forced to approach her in the autumn. Before his final engagement with Ravana he made an out-of-season Puja to Durga and was horrified to discover that the requisite number of lotus blossoms for the Puja was not available; he was one short of the necessary and auspicious 108 (the goddess had actually hidden one of them to test him). He thus prepared to offer up one of his own eyes to replace the missing offering and is frequently depicted at this climatic moment, turning his bow and arrow on himself to gouge out an eye. Fortunately, the arrival of the goddess at this point ensured that this was not required. By such an indication of devotion he was able to secure the support of Durga and defeat Ravana."

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  • Location

    Not on display

  • Condition

    Good

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Associated titles

    • Associated Title: Ramayana
  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    2003

  • Acquisition notes

    Acquired by the vendor in a library sale in the UK.

  • Department

    Asia

  • Registration number

    2003,1022,0.36

Popular print depicting a scene from the Ramayana when Ram offers his eyes. Colour lithograph, lettered, inscribed and numbered 36.

Popular print depicting a scene from the Ramayana when Ram offers his eyes. Colour lithograph, lettered, inscribed and numbered 36.

Image description

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