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Two Pages From a Ramayana Series Attributed to the Workshop of Mira Bagas

Two Pages From a Ramayana Series Attributed to the Workshop of Mira Bagas

Item Description:

REGISTERED ANTIQUITY - NON-EXPORTABLE ITEM (Please refer to the Terms and Conditions of Sale at the back of the catalogue)


The Prosperous City of Ayodhya; King Dasaratha Proposes a Horse Sacrifice

Uniara, India, 1760-1780

Opaque pigment on paper heightened with gold

Image 8 x 11 7/8 in. (20.3 x 30.1 cm.); folio 9 3/4 x 15 in. (24.7 x 38.1 cm.); image 8 1/4 x 12 1/8 in. (20.8 x 30.7 cm.); folio 9 7/8 x 15 in. (25.1 x 38 cm.) (2)


For two pages from this same series see Milo Cleveland Beach, Rajput Painting at Bundi and Kota, Ascona, 1974, pl. XLIX, figs. 50 and 51.

The first painting depicts the city of Ayodhya in all its glory. According to the Ramayana, Ayodhya was founded by Manu, the progenitor of mankind. Later it became the capital of the Ikshvaku dynasty of Kosala, with Rama being a scion of the same ruling family. In the palatial complex at the left, Raja Dasaratha, the father of Rama is seen amongst an assembly of courtiers and warriors at his court. Outside the palace, three horses, an elephant and a chariot are held by grooms. A procession is seen on the road leading to the palace. On either side of the road, the people of Ayodhya are engaged in different commercial activities. Two divine figures in the top-most register are worshipped by men clad in royal apparel. The depiction of Ayodhya as a bustling commercial centre is depicted sensitively by the painter, who has filled the composition with numerous scenes to represent the prosperity of the city.

The second painting depicts Dasaratha at court proposing a sacrifice. The horse-sacrifice was a ritual used by ancient Indian kings to prove their imperial sovereignty. A horse, accompanied by the king's warriors, was released to wander for a period of one year. In the territory traversed by the horse, any rival could dispute the king's authority by challenging the warriors accompanying it. After one year, if no enemy had managed to kill or capture the horse, the animal would be guided back to the king's capital. It would then be sacrificed, and the king would be declared an undisputed sovereign.

King Dasaratha, though being a popular and powerful sovereign, was childless. He was advised by the sage Sanata Kumara to conduct a horse-sacrifice as it might grant him children. The painting depicts Dasaratha sitting on the throne and proposing the horse-sacrifice to his courtiers. The courtiers fold their hands in supplication to the king, signifying that the proposal has been accepted. An interesting detail in the painting is the colourful elephant figureheads on the pillars of the durbar. The figures in the court appear to have been placed according to their rank, as the ones sitting close to the King are adorned with decorated turbans and lavish jewellery, but the figures standing at the back are dressed in a humble fashion.

‡ Registered Antiquity - Non-exportable Item. Please refer to the Terms and Conditions of Sale.

* Antiquity or Art Treasure - Non-exportable Item. Please refer to the Terms and Conditions of Sale.

₹ 600,000.00 ( Low est. )
Lot 2‡* in The Fine Art Sale including Classical Paintings (M0029)
AUCTION DATE: Jan 21, 2021 at 6:30pm IST



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