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Paintings Narrating Tales from Ramayana to be Exhibited at New York Museum

This image is for representation purpose only.

This image is for representation purpose only.

The museum said that the paintings and textiles that will be on view capture the "collective visual imagination of court artists" in their efforts to give form to the dramatic 2,500-year-old Sanskrit narrative, which consists of more than 24,000 verses.

New York: Indian epic the Ramayana will be the focus of a major exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with 30 paintings created for the Rajput and Pahari courts of north India between the 17th and 19th centuries going on a year-long display in America's largest art museum.

'Sita and Rama: The Ramayana in Indian Painting' will be an year-long exhibition that will go on display from August 10 at The Met's South Asian Exhibition Gallery.

"Created between the 17th and 19th centuries for the Rajput and Pahari courts of north India, the paintings in this exhibition capture the collective imagination of the Ramayana, an epic narrative composed by the Sanskrit poet Valmiki around the fifth century BC," the museum said.

The exhibition will showcase 30 "outstanding paintings" that narrate the "heroic and adventurous tale of Rama's rescue of his beloved wife, Sita" after her abduction by Ravana, the King of Lanka. The works will be accompanied by a number of textiles from across South Asia.

Highlights of the exhibition, which will be presented in two rotations, include a rare 19th-century painting titled 'Tantric Form of Monkey God Hanuman' that is a new addition to The Met collection and will be displayed publicly for the first time.

The museum said that the paintings and textiles that will be on view capture the "collective visual imagination of court artists" in their efforts to give form to the dramatic 2,500-year-old Sanskrit narrative, which consists of more than 24,000 verses.

Other highlights include an early 19th-century masterpiece - 'Rama, Sita and Lakshmana Begin their Life in the Forest' - that represents the sophisticated late Pahari painting tradition; a rare late 18th-century textile piece, 'The Combat of Rama and Ravana' and an important group of six paintings from The Shangri Ramayana series dating from 1690 to 1710 A.D.

"The philosophical dimension of the story finds visual expression in these images, particularly its interest in the themes of morality, kingship, and Rama's status as a divine manifestation (or avatar) of Vishnu, the museum said.

The exhibition is made possible by The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Foundation Fund and is being organized by Associate Curator in the Department of Asian Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art Kurt Behrendt.


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