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Illustration to the Ramayana: exiled in the forest with Lakshmana and their army of monkeys and bears, Rama gives counsel. Jaipur, circa 1880. Opaque watercolour with gold on wasli. 36.6 x 28.3cm
Vaishnava tilaks - sectarian marks - on the monkeys' and presumably bear-king Jambuvan's foreheads signal the manner of (human) Vaishnavas their affiliation to Vishnu. The monkeys also wear jewellery of gold and pearls with garlands of flowers, as if they were high-ranking officers and courtiers in a royal palace.
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Images and text © Peter Blohm