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About this slideshow
The version of the Ramayana told in this slideshow is not a literal or complete retelling of any single classical or modern version of the epic. It is based primarily on the Ramakien, the Ramayana as rewritten by Rama I and Rama II of...
Arrows turn into serpents
In The Ramayana, page 5.8
A flying demon, visible in the upper left corner, shoots arrows that become serpents as they fall. The arrows become wavy as they rain down upon Rama's army. The demon moves actively in a cloud-filled sunset sky painted over a dramatic mountain and landscape...
By Lorraine Aragon.
Baby Sita's gold urn carried in procession (Thai Ramayana mural)
Baby Sita's gold urn carried in procession (Thai Ramayana mural)
In this scene detail from a painted mural at the Emerald Buddha Temple, baby Sita's golden urn is carried to the king's palace in a royal procession. The beautifully dressed king's courtiers, carrying the closed golden urn, pass from the back to the front...
Format: image/photograph
Balinese dancer performing as red monkey king, Sugriva
Balinese dancer performing as red monkey king, Sugriva
A male dancer plays the red monkey king named Sugriva at a Ramayana performance in Ubud Village on Bali Island in August 1986. The Balinese dancer steps forward in an active male pose with his arms held out to the side and slightly forward. His thumbs and...
Format: image/photograph
Balinese masked dancer costumed as Sugriva the red monkey king
Balinese masked dancer costumed as Sugriva the red monkey king
A Balinese masked dancer is costumed as Sugriva, the red monkey king character from the Ramayana. Seen from the waist up, the male dancer wears a red knit shirt, elaborate sequined collar, gold crown, and a fanged wooden mask running from his nose down to...
Format: image/photograph
Balinese painting of Hanuman courting Ravana's mermaid daughter
Balinese painting of Hanuman courting Ravana's mermaid daughter
A red-toned modern Balinese painting depicts Hanuman courting Ravana's mermaid daughter. Swooping above moonlit waves and an open-mouthed fish in the sea, Hanuman carries the beautiful mermaid in his outstretched arms. Hanuman's and the mermaid's faces are...
Format: image/photograph
Barge carries Rama's allies across river (Thai Ramayana mural)
Barge carries Rama's allies across river (Thai Ramayana mural)
A simple barge carries Rama's allies across a river on the way home after they have defeated the demon king Ravana. The barge in the middle of the river, and both river shores, are covered with people accompanying Rama and Sita home to their rightful kingdom...
Format: image/photograph
The battle continues
In The Ramayana, page 3.8
This detail of a mural at the Emerald Buddha Temple, where Hanuman descends lithely down poles beside a circular well to seize the guards, shows how the powerful and clever monkey god can single-handedly defeat the hapless demons who defend Ravana's palace....
By Lorraine Aragon.
Bharata boating into forest to find Rama (Thai Ramayana mural)
Bharata boating into forest to find Rama (Thai Ramayana mural)
On this mural at the Emerald Buddha Temple, Rama's brother Bharata and his comrades boat into the forest to try to find the exiled Rama after their father dies. The detail shows several long paddled canoes and a large poled platform barge. On each watercraft,...
Format: image/photograph
Bharata tries to give back the throne
In The Ramayana, page 2.3
On this mural at the Emerald Buddha Temple, Rama's brother Bharata and his comrades boat into the forest to try to find the exiled Rama after their father dies. The detail shows several long paddled canoes and a large poled platform barge. On each watercraft,...
By Lorraine Aragon.
The birth of Sita
In The Ramayana, page 1.3
A painted mural at the Emerald Buddha Temple shows the infant Sita sitting in a gold urn as she is discovered by a king ploughing his fields. Beside Sita's urn, which protrudes from the ground, we see the king holding a wooden plough harnessed to an ox. The...
The bow of Siva
In The Ramayana, page 1.4
Here, Rama draws an arrow across his bow at a Ramayana dance performance held at Yogyakarta in July 1986. The Rama dancer wears a golden crown and a gold-trimmed red sash across his bare chest. He also wears the "broken sword" pattern batik of Yogyakarta's...
By Lorraine Aragon.
A bridge of stone
In The Ramayana, page 4.8
A carved stone stele at Prambanan Temple shows monkeys helping Rama by bringing stones for the bridge he wants to build to Ravana's demon island of Lanka. Realistically portrayed, the naked monkeys in this carved bas relief walk together in line carrying rounded...
By Lorraine Aragon.
Brown Monkey King striding with sword (Thai Ramayana mural)
Brown Monkey King striding with sword (Thai Ramayana mural)
In this mural from the Emerald Buddha Temple, the Brown Monkey King strides boldly with his right hand grasping his downward sword. The monkey king's head and legs are shown in profile but his torso is rotated so that his shoulders face front. The Brown Monkey...
Format: image/photograph
Close-up detail of Sita's mother in palace (Thai Ramayana mural)
Close-up detail of Sita's mother in palace (Thai Ramayana mural)
This close-up detail from a mural at the Emerald Buddha Temple shows Sita's mother, wearing golden clothes and a tall Siamese crown, speaking to several palace women. In this detail taken from the left rear of the larger mural, we see the queen on a raised...
Format: image/photograph
Dancer dressed as Sugriva the red monkey king at performance in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Dancer dressed as Sugriva the red monkey king at performance in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
A dancer is costumed as Sugriva, the red monkey king, at an August 1986 performance in Ubud Village on the island of Bali in Indonesia. He wears a carved and painted red wooden mask with large monkey fangs. The mask covers his face below the eyes. Long black...
Format: image/photograph
Dancer wears golden deer costume in Ramayana performance at Yogyakarta
Dancer wears golden deer costume in Ramayana performance at Yogyakarta
A Javanese dancer wears a golden deer costume in a Ramayana performance at Yogyakarta in July 1986. The dancer's eyes are visible through an oval window opening cut into the neck of the deer costume. The dancer's arms and legs form the four legs of the deer....
Format: image/photograph
A deathbed plot
In The Ramayana, page 1.10
This Indian painting shows Rama's father on his royal bed as he nears death. A wife and son are at his side.
By Lorraine Aragon.
A demon army attacks Rama
In The Ramayana, page 2.14
Standing gracefully on one foot, Prince Rama (at left) shoots an arrow at a group of demons sent by Ravana, as painted on a mural at the Emerald Buddha Temple. The demons, depicted in varied animal-like forms, crowd around their elephant mount.
By Lorraine Aragon.
Demon changes into a deer to lure Sita (Thai Ramayana mural)
Demon changes into a deer to lure Sita (Thai Ramayana mural)
A two image sequence on a mural painted at the Emerald Buddha Temple depicts a demon's intentional transformation into a deer. In the top image, his legs have turned into those of a golden deer. In the lower image, the demon is fully changed into the deer....
Format: image/photograph