Rama and Lakshman with the sage Vishvamitra, from a Ramayana

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.

Maker(s)
Artist: Attributed to the Master of Style II of the ‘Shangri’ Ramayana
Historical period(s)
ca. 1680-1690
School
Kulu school
Medium
Opaque watercolor on paper
Dimensions
H x W (painting): 19 × 29.2 cm (7 1/2 × 11 1/2 in) H x W (overall): 22.2 × 32.4 cm (8 3/4 × 12 3/4 in)
Geography
India, Himachal Pradesh state, Bahu or Jammu
Credit Line
Purchase and partial gift from the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection — funds provided by the Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S2018.1.9
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Painting
Type

Painting

Keywords
India, Ralph and Catherine Benkaim collection, Rama, Ramayana, Vishvamitra
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.

Previous Owner(s)

Raja Raghbir Singh
Catherine Glynn Benkaim
Ralph and Catherine Benkaim
Ray E. Lewis 1923-2005

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.

Inscription(s)

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

Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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