Hanuman brings healing herbs to Rama and Lakshmana
Edwin Binney 3rd, San Diego, California (December 14, 1961 - August 27, 1990)
San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California (August 27, 1990 - )
HANUMAN'S MONKEY ARMY, RAMA AND LAKSHMANA IN FRONT OF THE CASTLE IN LANKA (RAMAYANA)
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper, ca. 1590
Mughal, reign of Akbar
Edwin Binney 3rd Collection
Landing back on the mainland, Hanuman brings the news of Sita’s whereabouts, the layout of the city, and Sita’s message to Rama. Here, with Lanka in the background, Hanuman hands Rama Sita’s jewel. Rama sits with his arm around Lakshmana, and the monkeys chatter excitedly about the prospect of taking the citadel. Ravana’s spotted demons can be seen spying on the rescuers from behind a rock.
Ravana’s demons were a motley group, but they were formidable enemies and victors in many battles. Ravana himself had been brought to his evil ways by a path that was not without honor. He had crossed the line that made him vulnerable to death, however, by indulging his lust for Sita, taking her from her husband, and driving himself to unreason in his desire.
During the battle, Rama and Lakshmana both fall victim to an attack by Ravana’s son Indrajit. Rama regains consciousness, but Lakshmana appears to be mortally wounded. Hanuman is quickly dispatched to bring back the only known remedy, healing herbs that grow on the peaks of the Himalayan mountains. He returns with a chunk of the mountain on which the herbs are growing. In the painting, Rama and Lakshmana lie in front of Ravana’s golden castle, surrounded by anxious bears and monkeys. Three demons watch the miraculous recovery from behind the transplanted mountain sprouting golden plants. This painting comes from a well-known manuscript thought to have been made in Bundelkhand for Bir Singh Deo, a northern Indian raja and close ally of the Mughal emperor Akbar. The manuscript was apparently burned or otherwise damaged, and each of the pages shows evidence of this history.
Last Updated: 9/5/2017
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Page Number: 92, Figure Number: cat. 51
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