Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya

(Formerly Prince of Wales Museum of Western India)

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Object of the Month - October 2018

object of the month october 2009.13

Rama remembering Sita at the Advent of Autumn

Folio from an illustrated manuscript of the Ramayana

Pahari, Basohli

circa 1715

ascribed to Nurpur by Archer; to Manaku of Guler by Goswamy

2009.13

This painting depicts a scene from the Kishkindha Kanda of the Ramayana, which is inscribed on the reverse. After the death of Vali, Rama and Lakshmana live on a hill for the duration of the rainy season before Sugriva can join them in the search for Sita. The rainy season gives way to autumnal breezes. It is described in the Ramayana: “Rama seated on a peak shining with minerals”.

Rama and Lakshmana are seated on a peak. Distressed at the thought of Sita, Rama addressees Lakshmana: “look, the chakravakas from the Manasa Lake, their bodies covered with the pollen of lotuses, and spreading their wings, they are resting on the banks of the river”. The full autumn moon in the clear blue sky, a large branch of the willow bent over the two birds between the two trees, half open lotuses in the river, and the flat dark background, lend an unusual charm to this painting.