Exhibitions/ Art Object

The Demon Kumbhakarna Is Defeated by Rama and Lakshmana

ca. 1670
India (Madhya Pradesh, Malwa)
Ink and opaque watercolor on paper
8 1/2 x 6 1/2 in. (21.6 x 16.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of George W. Bahlke, 2001
Accession Number:
Not on view
According to the Ramayana, Kumbhakarna, the terrifying giant and brother of Ravana, was causing great damage to the monkey army when Rama and Lakshmana entered the battle. Using magical arrows of great power, Rama severed Kumbhakarna's limbs and filled his mouth with pointed steel shafts. The pathos of the demon's defeat is emphasized by his dismembered body parts being carried away by the bear and monkey warriors. Compared to the Mughal depiction The Awakening of the Demon Kumbhakarna, which shows the giant sleeping, this Malwa portrayal focuses on his violent and bloody demise. The brilliant red and black color fields and the spatial ambiguity are drawn from earlier Hindu painting traditions of Malwa, where the Mughal style had little impact.
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