- Museum number
Opaque watercolour painting of Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa seated on the arms of Kabandha. Kabandha has a huge head to which are attached long strong arms and short legs. He has flame-like reddish hair, sports a moustache, and on his forehead are vibhuti (cow dung ash) and a tripundra (three horizontal lines). He wears a fillet around his head and various types of earrings and bracelets. The green-complexioned Rāma and the gold-complexioned Lakṣmaṇa, bow and quiver slung over their shoulders and brandishing swords, sit on Kabandha’s arms in order to cut them off.
- Production date
- 1830 (circa)
Height: 17.60 centimetres
Width: 22.60 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Dallapiccola 2010:
The mythology behind this image is that Kabandha was cursed by Indra to lead the life of a rakshasa until his death by the hands of Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa. While searching for Sita, they meet Kabandha, ‘big as a mountain and dark as a cloud’. Stretching his huge hands, the rakshasa catches hold of the two brothers. To free themselves, they cut off the arms of Kabandha, who eventually dies of his wounds.
This painting is part of an album of ninety-one paintings (1962,1231,0.13.1–91) illustrating gods, goddesses, saints and scenes from Hindu mythology. One of the most interesting features of the album are the eight major temple sites included: Srirangam, Tiruvallur, Rameswaram, Tirunelveli, Palani, Madurai, Thiruvanaikoil (Tiruvanaikka or Jambukeshvara) and Tiruchchirappalli. Furthermore, included in this series are some of the most important murtis enshrined in temples such as Venkatachalapati of Tirumala, Vitthala of Pandharpur and Thyagarajasvami of Tiruvarur. The geographical area covered by the paintings encompasses the totality of the former Madras Presidency and extends into the former Bombay Presidency, giving an insight into the most revered pilgrimage sites in early nineteenth-century southern India.
The drawings were first done in pencil, traces of which are still visible. In the course of his work the artist has sometimes changed his mind, as for instance in the positioning of the arms and feet of the figures. Slight shading has been consistently applied to the faces, arms and legs of the figures to suggest three-dimensionality. The vibrant colours and the delicacy of the drawings make the figures stand out from the pages.
The pages are numbered in reverse order from the back, on paper water marked ‘1820’. Occasionally, a brief note is pencilled in English, probably by a British Museum curator, at the back of some of the temple depictions. An almost identical work, albeit containing a hundred drawings, each with bilingual inscriptions in Telugu and English, is in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (IM 355-1923 to 454-1923). The sequence of the images is similar to that in this album.
- On display (G33/dc66b/s3)
- Exhibition history
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Ramayana
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Transferred from the Department of Oriental Manuscripts and Printed Books (OMPB) in 1962.
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: 1167 (Egerton number)
Miscellaneous number: 1176 (Egerton number)