Exhibitions/ Art Object

King Dasaratha Bids Farewell to His Sons Bharata and Shatrughna

ca. 1700
India (Punjab Hills, Bahu)
Opaque watercolor with silver and gold on paper
8 1/2 x 13 in. (21.6 x 33 cm)
Credit Line:
Lent by Cynthia Hazen Polsky
Not on view
In this vividly colored scene from the Shangri Ramayana series (see also King Dasaratha and His Retinue Proceed to Rama's Wedding), King Dasaratha, father of Rama, in an orange jama, bids farewell to his sons Bharata and Shatrughna who embark on a journey to escort their uncle home. Grooms tether horses in preparation. Rama (blue complexion) and Laksmana are seated at their father's side. Apart from the grooms, all the actors are on a vine-and-flower patterned carpet, which anchors the composition on its intense yellow ground. An orange umbrella honors the king, seen gesturing in a typical display of Rajput etiquette so favored in court painting of the period.

The extremely refined technique displays close stylistic affinities with early Basohli painting. This important series may represent an offshoot of that style at neighboring court ateliers, such as Nurpur or Badu, where it probably was painted.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Epic India: Scenes from the Ramayana," March 30, 2010–September 19, 2010.