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Rama and Lakshmana by lotus pool during their exile, from a copy of the Ramayana - National Museum of Asian Art

Rama and Lakshmana by lotus pool during their exile, from a copy of the Ramayana

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At A Glance

  • Period

    ca. 1670
  • Geography

    Udaipur, Rajasthan state, India
  • Material

    Opaque watercolor on paper
  • Dimension

    H x W (image-inside border): 24.9 x 46.8 cm (9 13/16 x 18 7/16 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Court

    Mewar Court
  • School/Tradition

    Rajput school
  • Provenance

    Ca. 1670-at least 1974
    Mewar Royal Collection, Udaipur, India [1]
    At least 1974-1996
    British Rail Pension Fund, Works of Art Collection (active 1974-1999), United Kingdom, acquired from the Mewar Royal Collection through Maharana Bhagwat Singh (1921-1984; reign 1955-1971) [2]
    Sale, London, England, Sotheby’s, “Persian and Indian Manuscripts and Miniatures: from the Collection Formed by the British Rail Pension Fund,” April 23, 1996, lot 17 [3]
    Ralph (1914-2001) and Catherine Glynn Benkaim (owned jointly), probably purchased at April 23, 1996, Sotheby’s Sale, London, England [4]
    Catherine Glynn Benkaim, upon death of Ralph Benkaim [5]
    From 2012
    Freer Gallery of Art, purchase and partial gift from Catherine Glynn Benkaim [6]
    [1] See the Mewar Royal Collection number 30/37, inscribed in red ink on the back of the object. According to Debra Diamond, Elizabeth Moynihan Curator for South Asian and Southeast Asian Art, National Museum of Asian Art, on March 27, 2023, the “notations written in red ink are from one of the two late nineteenth-century inventories of the Udaipur court paintings kept in the royal painting storeroom (jotdān).”
    [2] See “Acquisition Justification,” dated April 2012, copy in object file. The “Acquisition Justification states, that this “painting was part of the British Rail Pension Fund collection of Mewar court paintings that were brought to Switzerland in the early 1970s by the current Maharana’s father[, Maharana Bhagwat Singh (1921-1984; reign 1955-1971)].”
    Because of the global recession in 1974, the British Rail Pension Fund (BRPF) began investing in art. Between 1974 and 1980, the BRPF invested roughly forty million British pounds in a diverse collection of art and antiques from around the world. Due to the costs associated with insuring and caring for such a collection, the BRPF liquidated the collection at public auction between 1987 and 1998.
    [3] See Sotheby’s, “Persian and Indian Manuscripts and Miniatures: from the Collection Formed by the British Rail Pension Fund” [auction catalogue], (London: Sotheby’s, April 23, 1996), lot 17, illustrated. Object is described as, “An illustration to the Ramayana: Rama and Lakshmana by a lotus pool during their exile. […] [/] inventory number 30/37.”
    [4] See appraisal object list titled, “Valuation C. G. Benkaim April 2012,” copy in object file. The description for this object includes the notation, “CGB 1996; British Railway Pension Fund; Ex collection Mewar Royal Collection.”
    Ralph (1914-2001) and Catherine Glynn Benkaim were collectors of Indian painting. Mr. Benkaim was an entertainment lawyer from Los Angeles who started collecting Indian painting in 1961 and Ms. Benkaim scholar in the field of Indian painting. Mr. and Ms. Benkaim met in the 1970s when Ms. Benkaim was the curator of Indian painting at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The couple were married 1979 and together they created a fine collection of Indian paintings, which included examples from all genres. They collected objects for their collection through dealers and auctions. Objects from their collection may also be found in the Cleveland Museum of Art, Williams College Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art, among others.
    [5] See “Temporary Custody Receipt,” undated (April 16, 2012), copy in object file. The object was transferred from Catherine Glynn Benkaim to the Freer Gallery of Art for acquisition consideration on April 16, 2012.
    See also object file for copy of the Catherine Glynn Benkaim invoice, to Freer Gallery of Art, dated August 21, 2012.
    [6] See “Appendix B Bill of Sale” and “Appendix C Donor Substantiation Letter,” dated August 20, 2012, copy in object file.
    Research updated December 1, 2023
  • Collection

    Freer Gallery of Art Collection
  • Exhibition History

    Arts of the Indian Subcontinent and the Himalayas (October 16, 2004 to January 3, 2016)
  • Previous custodian or owner

    Mewar Royal Collection
    British Rail Pension Fund, Works of Art Collection (active 1974-1999)
    Ralph and Catherine Benkaim
    Catherine Glynn Benkaim
  • Origin

    Udaipur, Rajasthan state, India
  • Credit Line

    Purchase and partial gift made in 2012 from the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
  • Type

  • Restrictions and Rights

    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The National Museum of Asian Art welcomes information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.

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