Rama and Lakshmana Search in Vain for Sita

ca. 1680–90
India (Rajasthan, Mewar)
Ink and opaque watercolor on paper
10 1/4 × 16 1/4 in. (26 × 41.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, T. Roland Berner Fund, 1974
Accession Number:
Not on view
“Ranging the woods, hills, rivers, and lakes on every side, searching the plateaus, caves, and summits of the mountain, these two sons of Dasaratha could not find Sita anywhere.” The artist has provided a literal rendering of this passage from the Ramayana, their mounting distress conveyed by Rama’s animated gestures. A pair of white storks evokes the bond of lovers, alluding to Rama’s apparent loss. The usual blue ground adds to the sobriety of the scene. The Mewari artist could not resist celebrating the variegated foliage of the forest landscape and inserting the startling white horizon line between earth and sky.
[ Doris Wiener Gallery , New York, by 1974; sold to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Epic India: Scenes from the Ramayana," March 30, 2010–September 19, 2010.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Lyrical Visions: Paintings from North India," December 3, 2011–May 28, 2011.