Exhibitions/ Art Object

The Monkey King Vali's Funeral Pyre; from a Ramayana series

Artist:
First generation after Manaku and Nainsukh
Date:
ca. 1780
Culture:
India (Himachal Pradesh, Kangra)
Medium:
Ink, opaque watercolor, silver, and gold on paper
Dimensions:
9 3/4 x 13 3/8 in. (24.8 x 34 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky Fund, 2004
Accession Number:
2004.367
Not on view
This complex composition illustrates multiple juxtaposed narratives. Smoke rises from the funerary pyre of the monkey king Vali, who was murdered by his brother and rival Sugriva, with the help of Rama. Monkeys throw wood on the fire and his many widows stand in mourning. At the upper left, Sugriva approaches Rama, shown in a cave, who affirms his installation as king of the monkeys. Rama’s wilderness existence is further emphasized by the sages shown sitting in front of thatched huts in the center background. In the mountains, Sugriva, Hanuman, Lakshmana, and the monkey army (but not Rama) return to their vast and impenetrable golden capital to crown the new king.
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