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Hanuman brings healing herbs to Rama and Lakshmana

Creation date: ca. 1590
Creation place: India

Other Information

Type: Watercolor Painting
Medium and Support: Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Credit Line: Edwin Binney 3rd Collection
Accession Number: 1990.290
State/Province: Uttar Pradesh
Dimensions: 10 1/4 x 7 1/4 in. (26.3 x 18.2 cm)


Heeramaneck Galleries, New York, New York ( - December 14, 1961)

Edwin Binney 3rd, San Diego, California (December 14, 1961 - August 27, 1990)

San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California (August 27, 1990 - )

Label Copy

Ramayana (2003)

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


This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Epic Tales from India: Paintings from The San Diego Museum of Art The San Diego Museum of Art , 11/19/2016 - 6/12/2018


This object has the following bibliographic references:

Ms. Marika Sardar and Ms Neeraja Poddar. Epic Tales from Ancient India San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 2016
Page Number: 92, Figure Number: cat. 51


Inscription, : This is a Yuddhakāṇḍa selection from a version of Vālmīki's Rāmāyaṇa, and I have found the text in a publication (in Sanskrit). It was extremely difficult to find this text (I spent many many hours in the library trying to find it!), but just a few days ago I was able to find the text! In the manuscript, so much of the text was missing from the fringes, that it was nearly impossible to translate (a little dot above a syllable in Sanskrit can mean a world of difference in translation). This text, although part of the Yuddhakāṇḍa, is from the appendix to the critical edition, meaning that the text is not found in the southern recension of the text, and is likely only in some northern families of Rāmāyaṇa texts. I haven't found any translations for the appendices, but I have emailed some Rāmāyaṇa specialists to see if they are familiar with any publications that have translated the appendices. The good news is that I am able to hypothesize what the missing text is for this manuscript, since much of the remaining text matches the Sanskrit publication quite well. If there is an English publication out there, I will provide a translation from it, otherwise translating this will be much more reasonable now that I have a good guess as to the missing letters from each line. Although this is still pending, I'm so glad that all of my work on the manuscript didn't lead us to a dead end! [MS: Never heard back from JB-H to complete this translation]

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