- Museum number
Album drawing. Pen and ink wash on paper. Rāma is shown lying, his right arm bent up under his head, on a couch of darbha grass while his left arm is threaded through his bow. His buckler is placed beneath his legs. Near his head is Lakṣmaṇa who, with matted hair and hands in anjali mudra, wears a tiger skin with a quiver slung over his shoulder. Near Rāmas feet is Sugriva, with hands in anjali mudra and a sword and buckler hanging from his waistband. Above the three figures, kneeling on a cloud is Vibhishana, hands in anjali mudra and with his gada resting on his shoulder.
- Production date
Height: 22.80 centimetres (page)
Width: 19 centimetres (page)
- Curator's comments
- Dallapiccola 2010:
This drawing shows an incident connected to Darbhashayanam, a place not far from Rameswaram. Perplexed as to how to cross the sea between India and Lanka, Rama meditated for three days and three nights on a bed of sacred darbha grass. Eventually Vishnu appeared, blessed him and gave him the divine bow. This episode, although rare in nineteenth-century albums, appears in eighteenth-century murals, e.g. the Ramayana series in the Vasanta mandapa of the Kallalagar temple at Alagar Koil, near Madurai.
This album of ninety-nine pen and ink wash drawings is unusual within the British Museum collection as a large proportion (seventy) of its drawings deal with the exploits of Kṛṣṇa. These can be grouped under three headings: the god as naughty child, adolescent hero and lover. The selection of episodes follows, by and large, the narrative of the Bhagavata Purana. A number of scenes, however, are inspired by the oral tradition of the Telugu-speaking area.
Of the remaining twenty-nine drawings, twenty-five illustrate a number of gods, goddesses, mythological incidents and tirthas (place of pilgrimage). The artist or the patron had an eye for unusual murtis: for instance, Vallabhi Vighneshvara (1962,1231,0.12.1), and the five-faced Hanuman (1962,1231,0.12.2) are relatively rare. The last four leaves of the album show architectural drawings, unusual in this type of work.
The artist responsible for this set demonstrates a remarkable control of his medium. His elegant, fluid line and the discreet shading with a pale wash are hallmarks of his style. The technique of indicating three dimensionality using shading may have been introduced by European artists. The majority of the paper is water marked ‘A. Cowen & Sons 1826’, with the last ten sheets watermarked ‘A. Cowen & Sons 1825’.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Transferred from the Department of Oriental Manuscripts and Printed Books (OMPB) in 1962.
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: 1168 (Egerton number)