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(Indian, active late 1800s)
Woodcut, hand colored with gum tempera
Secondary Support: 29.7 x 47.7 cm (11 11/16 x 18 3/4 in.); Print only: 24.1 x 33 cm (9 1/2 x 13 in.)
Gift of William E. Ward in memory of his wife, Evelyn Svec Ward 2003.156.a
Rama's devoted monkey followers Hanuman and Sugriva are seated before the throne.
The finale of the Ramayana presents Rama and Sita enthroned as the rightful rulers of the kingdom of Ayodhya. They are surrounded by Rama’s brothers, their loyal monkey allies, sages, and nobles. The balanced, symmetrical composition evokes the peace and stability that Rama’s millennia-long reign will bring to the kingdom.
The artist has anachronistically set the scene in an 1800s Calcutta mansion, complete with glass sconces and lamps hanging from the ceiling. Since Calcutta (now Kolkata) was the epicenter of British colonial power, this imagery suggests a desire to reinstate Hindu rulership over India.
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