Vishvamitra Asks Dasharatha's Permission to Take Young Rama and Lakshmana into the Forest
Page from a dispersed series of the Ramayana
Artist/maker unknown, Indian
The first illustrated version of the Ramayana was made in the imperial Mughal workshop using Emperor Akbar's Persian translation. This slightly later version was done for a Hindu Rajput patron who probably resided at the Mughal court. Unlike Mughal paintings done for Muslim patrons, where blocks of Persian text are integrated into the image, the pages in this Ramayana have the original Sanskrit text on the back, following the North Indian Hindu manuscript tradition. In addition, the pages were probably stacked, rather than sewn together (the irregular shape is due to fire damage soon after the manuscript was completed). Here King Dasharatha talks with a holy hermit who requests the help of two young princes (blue-skinned Rama and his brother Lakshmana, seen just behind the throne) to drive a demon out of his forest hermitage.