Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ramayana captured in Moghul art

Dear reader,

In an earlier post I had documented the existence of Razmnama, a Persian translation of the Mahabharata that was undertaken under Akbar's regime. This post is about 'Freer Ramayana' which, from what I have been able to gather, is an illustrated manuscript of the Indian epic Ramayana which was painted for a Moghul nobleman. There is no accurate information on who this nobleman was but the style of artwork it uses is quite similar to the ones found in Akbar's aforementioned work. So it could be that Akbar was the Moghul who had sanctioned this project too. Any further information on this would of course be appreciated.

Given below are some of the pages I could gather.  What is curious about it is the consistent usage of horns (as seen in depictions of Satan/Shaitaan) to depict evil characters in them while the Kings have the symbol headdress commonly seen in Islamic and Christian art. What is also interesting is the use of predominantly red and black to depict the evil characters in the epic while the heroes are shaded in human form.

Angada kills Devantaka

Angada kills Narantaka

Bharata sets out to find Rama

Dasharatha in Ayodhya

Dasharatha and sons return to Ayodhya

Hanuman and Ravana

Hanuman beheads Trisiras

Hanuman looking for Sanjeevani herb

Indra prevents Trishanku from entering heaven

Kumbhakarna getting up

Kumbhakarna in battle

Hanuman carries a mountain back 

Rama kills Maharaksha
Rama kills Viradha

Rama Lakshama Sita Hanuman

Rama leaves for heavens

Rama slays Shambuka

Rama slays Ravana

Rama with the Vanaras

Ravana abducts Sita

Ravana loots Kuvera

Rysasrunga travels to Ayodhya

Sugreeva in battle

Sugreeva attacks Kumbhakarna

Valmiki getting the tone of Ramayana from a dying bird

Garuda and Vsnu

Dasharatha being cremated

Shatrughna killing Lavanasura and conquering Mathura

3 reflections:

Sandhya said...

Good post, SK. It is very nice to see that our epics are translated into other languages. I thoroughly enjoyed viewing all the paintings. Thanks for collecting the info and sharing it with us.

ShaK said...

@Sandhya: Yes. It is quite interesting that the Moghuls went to this extent to document the epics of the lands they had conquered. Them being huge patrons of art and culture rings true.

iBeingMe said...

I recently visited a light show in Delhi where the narrator explained about translations during the Moughal time specially during Akbars dynasty.