India (Punjab Hills, Kangra)
Ink and opaque watercolor on paper; 9 3/4 x 14 in. (24.9 x 35.7 cm)
Seymour and Rogers Funds, 1976 (1976.15)
The Ramayana manuscript from which this painting comes is one of the great productions of the Kangra workshop and also one of the largest in page sizes. Its compositions are distinguished by their variety and audacity. This one depicts the wilderness landscape into which Rama was exiled. The fantastic, tortured natural forms seem to mirror the peril and desolation felt by the god in his wanderings: a vertiginous fording of the Ganges at the upper left, the lonely valley of the hermitage at the top right, and the central hilltop scene set before an ancient windswept tree. Here Rama and his companions are seen consulting the sage Bharadvaja, who tells Rama that his fourteen-year exile will soon end and he will be reunited with his family.