Exhibitions/ Art Object

Rama and Ravana in Bloody Combat on the Island of Lanka

Kishnangarh Artist
ca. 1730–60
India (Rajasthan, Kishangarh)
Opaque watercolor, gold and silver on paper laid down on card
11 1/2 x 15 in. (29.2 x 38.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Lent by Cynthia Hazen Polsky
Not on view
The climatic battle takes place outside Ravana's palace. Rama and Ravana confront each other from their chariots, firing deadly magic arrows. Other key events from the last two books of the Ramayana, the Yuddhakanda and the Uttarakanda, are also shown: the severed head of the giant Kumbhakarna (lower left); the battle in which Indrajit renders himself invisible and overwhelms Rama and Lakshmana with arrows that turn into writhing snakes, shown as clouds with lines of arrows raining down (upper left); and Hanuman flying in with the uprooted mountaintop to deliver needed medicinal herbs (upper left). On the right is a depiction of Ravana's palace. At the lower left, Sita sits in a walled asoka grove, while above Ravana is surrounded by his demon courtiers. The highest reaches of the palace burn, and Hanuman torches the roofs with his tail. Miniature vignettes illustrate events following the battle, such as Sita demonstrating her purity by stepping into the fire (lower left) and the golden aerial chariot in which Rama and Sita return to Ayodhya (far left). The rock formations reflect Mughal influence, but other motifs confirm that the painting is the product of a mid-eighteenth-century Kishangarh workshop.