Rama and Lakshman with the sage Vishvamitra, from a Ramayana

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At A Glance

  • Period

    ca. 1680-1690
  • Geography

    Bahu or Jammu, Himachal Pradesh state, India
  • Material

    Opaque watercolor on paper
  • Dimension

    H x W (painting): 19 × 29.2 cm (7 1/2 × 11 1/2 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Artist

    Attributed to the Master of Style II of the ‘Shangri’ Ramayana
  • School/Tradition

    Kulu school
  • Description

    The scene takes place outside Ayodhya, in the uncultivated forest zone where ascetics dwell. The boys raise their hands respectfully as they listen to the divine sage Vishvamitra, who has brought them to the forest zone in order to kill the demons who disturb holy men. Vishvamitra wears an animal skin over one shoulder and carries a water pot (kundika). With their bows and arrows slung across their bodies, the brothers have long wavy sideburns, large lotus-shaped eyes, and richly colored jamas. All three figures bear red Vaishnava tilaks (forehead marks). The landscape is a glowing field of golden yellow, sandwiched between a thin strip of cloudy sky and a narrow band of tufted grass. A deep maroon river borders the foreground. With its shaggy tufts of dark green, the tree is made marvelous by a vine of absolutely massive fig leaves.
  • Inscriptions

    Inscribed on the reverse in Nagari: Bala; and the numeral 47 in nagari and takri script.
  • Provenance

    Raja Raghbir Singh, Shangri, Kullu Valley, India.
    To 1964
    Ray E. Lewis (1923-2005), San Francisco, California. [1]
    From 1964 to 2001
    Ralph Benkaim (1914-2001), Beverly Hills, California, purchased from Ray E. Lewis. [2]
    From 2001 to 2018
    Catherine Glynn Benkaim, Beverly Hills, California, by inheritance from Ralph Benkaim in 2001. [3]
    From 2018
    Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, partial gift and purchase from Catherine Glynn Benkaim. [4]
    [1] Ralph Benkaim purchased the painting in December 1964 from R.E. Lewis Gallery of San Francisco, eight years before Indian paintings were classified as antiquities by the Indian government. This according to his personal records via Catherine Glynn Benkaim.
    [2] See note 1.
    [3] See note 1.
    [4] See Acquisition Justification Form, object file, Collections Management Office.
  • Collection

    National Museum of Asian Art Collection
  • Previous custodian or owner

    Raja Raghbir Singh
    Ray E. Lewis (1923-2005)
    Ralph (1914-2001) and Catherine Benkaim
    Catherine Glynn Benkaim
  • Origin

    Bahu or Jammu, Himachal Pradesh state, India
  • Credit Line

    Purchase and partial gift from the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection — funds provided by the Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries
  • Type

  • Restrictions and Rights

    CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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