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Double-sided folio from a Ramayana. Marwar, circa 1820-40. Opaque watercolour with gold on wasli. 31 x 19.6cm

This folio did not belong to a manuscript illustrating Valmiki's Rayana but to a regional variation of it. The upper side (above) has a picture of monkey king Bali fighting the demon Dundubhi, the lower has victorious Bali presenting the demon's head to Rama, who appears as a king. Normally we would expect to see the exiled Rama dressed only in leaves from the forest.

I would like to express my gratitude to Tarun Pant for kindly translating the text and commenting on the narrative.

Images and text © Peter Blohm