This remarkably fine Nepalese panel is a rare survivor of an important genre of textile art featuring figurative embroidery. It was likely part of a garment worn by Vaishnava priests officiating major acts of worship. The central field contains dramatic battle scenes: At the top, Ravana rides in his six-wheeled makara-drawn chariot. Below, the heroic triad of Rama, Lakshmana, and Hanuman battle a white demon, possibly Ravana’s brother, the giant Kumbhakarna (presumably also represented in the chariot above).
[ Alan Marcusson , London, until 1995; 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. "The Arts of Nepal and Tibet: Recent Gifts," January 16, 2016–January 15, 2017.