TARA DEVI: According to iconographic texts, Tara Devi is described as a tantric deity popular in India, China, Tibet and Mongolia. The meaning of the word ‘Tara’ means one who ferries a across the ocean of suffering. Tara Devi is also the wife of Vali, the powerful warlord in the Ramayan.

In this print from the Ravi Varma Press derived from a painting by Raja Ravi Varma, it is uncertain if Raja Ravi Varma intended to depict the deity or the consort of Vali, ‘Tara’. However, this print depicts an aristocratic lady seated on a boat playing a sitar. She is shaded by an umbrella. Another lady is also seen seated on the boat appreciative of the music of the sitar.


  • Title: Tara Devi
  • Creator: Raja Ravi Varma, Ravi Varma Fine Art Lithographic Press Bombay
  • Date Created: Circa 1898
  • Physical Dimensions: 50 x 60 cms
  • Provenance: The Hemamalini and Ganesh Shivaswamy collection, Bengaluru.
  • Subject Keywords: Raja Ravi Varma, Ramayan, Gigapixel
  • Type: Chromolithograph
  • Rights: The Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation, Bengaluru.
  • Creator's Biography: Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906) was a prolific Indian artist who is recognized for his resorting to the academic realistic style of painting. His portraits of English and Indian royalty and aristocracy were well received. His paintings on Hindu religious and mythological subjects and paintings from classical and literary sources were highly sought after even during his lifetime. He painted several copies of his works and this demand led to the suggestion to have his paintings printed in the form of oleographs. The Ravi Varma Fine Art Lithographic Press was established in Bombay (now Mumbai) and commenced operations in 1894. Many of Ravi Varma's paintings were printed as chromolithographs at this Press. These chromolithographs would have a tremendous impact on religion, society and aesthetics. They went on to democratize art leading to immortalize Ravi Varma in the minds of the people of the Indian subcontinent.

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