Saturday, July 20, 2019

Sita's ordeal by fire

Ramayana, Painted in Kamasan Bali - Date around 1915 
research Dolf Pauw

The story: This is a key episode in the Ramayana story, one of the most frequently depicted scenes in classical Balinese paintings. Rawana, demonic king of Langka, kidnapped the goddess Sita and kept her in captivity. After the fall of Langka and the death of Rawana, goddess Sita was reunited with her husband, Rama. But after such a long absence, Rama doubts her faithfulness. Distressed by Rama’s suspicion and in order to demonstrate her purity, Sita orders Laksamana, Rama’s brother, to prepare a pyre into which she jumps. However she is protected by Agni, the god of fire, and the fire turns into a lotus. The scene: Agni can be seen in the centre of the paintings with Sita at his feet in a lotus floating on a pool of water. Both are enclosed in a golden aureole, which indicates a god. The servant figures, Twalen and Merdah are seated on the ground close to Sita. On the right, at the top of the ramp, from which Sita has jumped, are Trijata, Sita’s companion during her captivity, heavenly priests and monkey spectators. Hanoman, the monkey general, is below the ramp. Rama and Laksamana appear on the left of the tree with several gods above them and monkeys and other animal creatures below. Flowers descend from above, as a manifestation of Sita’s purity and favour with the gods. 
LINK Virtual Museum of Balinese Painting

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