Rama

The two-handed figure stands in relaxed posture on a base consisting of square and round forms. At the bottom of each shape stylized lotus petals are incised. His right hand is extended outwards and would have been holding an arrow and he left arm is extended up to his die to hold a bow. He wears much of jewelry including anklets bracelets, armlets, necklace and shoulder loops, belts with pendant elements and a sacred thread reaching just below his waist. He wears a lower garment with incised lines delineating the folds and sections that flare out to either side. He wears an elaborate crown. One element extends over his right shoulder, which may either be part of his quiver of arrows or a broken section of a halo. He wears a conical headdress incised with a worn pattern. His face is sharply stylized with a long straight nose and wide, open eyes.
Artist Unknown, India, Tamil Nadu
14th century
Stories of the incarnations of Vishnu are very common and various groups of different numbers of incarnations are found. The most standard one is of ten, the Dasavatara. Rama is number seven in the series and is one of the great epic figures. A long epic known in many different versions in a variety of languages tells his story. His prowess as an archer figures prominently and he is almost invariably shown with one, except in coronation scenes. The monkey Hanuman is associated with his stories.
Gift of Michele Caplan
2000/2.153
Friday, May 29, 2020