Rama and Lakshmana Search in Vain for Sita: Illustrated folio from a dispersed Ramayana series

“Ranging the woods, hills, rivers and lakes on every side, searching the plateaus, caves and summits of the mountain, these two sons of Dasaratha could not find Sita anywhere.” The artist has provided a literal rendering of this passage from the Ramayana describing each desperate endeavor to find Sita, their mounting distress conveyed by Rama’s animated gestures. A pair of white storks evokes the bond of lovers, alluding to Rama’s apparent loss. The usual blue ground adds to the sobriety of the scene. The Mewari artist could not resist celebrating the variegated foliage of the forest landscape and inserting the startling white horizon line between earth and sky.

Ink and opaque watercolor on paper


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Metropolitan Museum of Art

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