The exhibition ‘Rama-Katha – The story of Rama through Indian Miniatures’ will remain on view at National Museum from 16th August, 2013 to 25th October, 2013 except on Mondays.
Rama-katha, the story of Rama, is one of the most popular themes in religious literature of India. The earliest source of Rama-katha is ‘Ramayana’ (the journey of Rama), attributed to sage-poet Valmiki, created around 5th-4thcentury BCE. The text, in Sanskrit, consists of around 24,000 shlokas (verse-couplets), divided into seven kandas (cantos).
The exhibition consists of 101 masterpieces of the Ramayana theme paintings, from the collection of National Museum. It enables the visitor to have an idea of the different styles of Indian miniature painting, reflecting on the interpretation of the same theme across stylistic genres. All major styles of Pahari painting, namely Basohli, Guler, Chamba, Mandi, Kangra, Nurpur and Bilaspur are on display. Rajasthani styles represented are Mewar, Bundi, Kota, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Bikaner, Kishangarh and Deogarh. There are representations from Central Indian styles of Malwa, Orchha, Datia and Raghogarh, besides specimens of Provincial Mughal style from Bundelkhand. Deccani from Bijapur and classical folk style of Kalighat are also on display.
Some of the outstanding miniature paintings on display are The portrait of Rama, (Basohli style, Pahari, circa 1730); Rama breaks lord Shiva’s bow in the court of king Janaka, (Provincial Mughal style, Orchha, Bundelkhand, early 17th century); Wedding of Rama and Sita(Shangri Ramayana folio, Mandi style, Pahari, mid 18th century); Bharata returns to Ayodhya with Rama’s padukas, (Jaipur – Datia mixed style, Rajasthan mid 18th century); Rama, Lakshmana and the golden deer, (Kalighat style, Bengal, late 19th century); Setubandhanam: Rama and Lakshmana, with their army of monkeys and bears, cross the bridge to reach Lanka, (Guler style drawing, Pahari, circa 1770); Hanuman, with Dronagiri mountain, Raghogarh style, (Central India, late 18th century); Agni Pariksha- The fire ordeal of Sita, (Kangra style, Pahari, circa 1800) and Mother earth receiving her daughter Sita back to her womb, (Kangra style, Pahari, early 19th century).
‘Rama Katha’ exhibition of Ramayana miniature paintings will travel to Royal Museum of Art and History, Brussels, Belgium, where it will be on display for a duration of six months from 20th November, 2013 to 18th May, 2014.