Monday, December 26, 2016

Image: Life in the Forest

Life in the Forest
(British Library: Mewar Ramayana)

From the Library site: Rama points out beauties of the Citrakuta mountain to Sita - the lovely trees and birds, the Mandakini river which rises in the mountain and flows along the bottom of the picture with hermits praying, meditating and bathing along it, and the rocks coloured by gems and minerals. Rama decorates Sita's forehead with red arsenic and takes her protectively in his arms when a lion growls. The text includes (and Sahib Din also illustrates) the tale of an audacious crow which is sometimes omitted from the Ramayana. An audacious crow pecks at Sita's breast and draws blood. Rama, enraged, takes aim at it with an arrow made of a reed. The crow is refused protection by all in the three worlds (heaven being represented by a pair of divine beings in a chariot and the underworld by a snake-king and his queen) and returns to beg for mercy from Rama. Rama relents and just shoots his arrow into the crow's eye, thus allowing it to live.

Details, including the story of Rama, Sita, and the crow,
plus Rama protecting Sita from a lion

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