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Reception of the marriage party of Rama and his brothers in Mithila

UnknownEarly 19th Century

National Museum - New Delhi

National Museum - New Delhi
New Delhi , India

The folio from a miniature series on the epic Ramayana, depicts the reception of the marriage party of the princes of Ayodhya. After Rama snaps into two the unbreakable bow of the God Shiva, and earns the hand of King Janaka’s daughter Sita in marriage. King Janaka decides to wed his younger daughter Urmila to Rama’s younger brother Lakshmana, and his brother King Kushadhvaja of Sankasya’s daughters Mandavi and Shrutkirti to Rama’s other two half-brothers Bharata and Shatrughana.

The joyous occasion is envisioned in a contemporary setting, the marbled palace of King Janaka is depicted with Mughal style pavilions, arched niches, and ornamentation on the architraves. The figures are fashionably attired in costumes in vogue, the men dressed in jamas, and wraps, and wear black feather aigrettes in their crowns, while the women wear peshwajs and ordnis.

The zigzagging of walls of the palace and the high viewpoint enables a spatial depth into the composition where many little vignettes of the narrative can be recounted with ease.

The painter unfolds the events in a continuous narrative - the processional party of the princes, led by Rama distinguished by his dark skin and the golden halo around him enter the palace of Mithila on the right, their entry announced by the enthusiastic beating of naqqaras and playing of shehnais and dhols. The party shall enter the inner palace gate where the old king Janaka who has just been apprised of the incoming party, stands with folded hands to welcome it. Prince Rama and his entourage feast themselves up on the palace terraces where a presumably sumptuous spread in gold vessels is laid out before them. They are attended by palace women and entertained by female musicians below, while a few women at the palace doorways look upon the scene or chatter among themselves. Gathered within the pavilion in the upper right of the painting, royal elders converse and look at the activities.

The painter animates the festive scene with a vibrant riot of colours of deep reds, yellows, oranges, bright greens and pale pink, but then subduing the intensity of the colours by the use of muted blues, dull greys and whites.

The figures are rendered with an easy grace. They are fully rounded, and their clothes fall naturalistically around their limbs. The women are rendered with distinctive profiles – large almond shaped eyes, high foreheads and long sharp noses, straight small mouths with little dimples and small pointed chins.

Details

  • Title: Reception of the marriage party of Rama and his brothers in Mithila
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: Early 19th Century
  • Physical Dimensions: 30 cm x 38.8 cm

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