Narrative Scroll (Pata) showing scenes from the Ramayana (Legend of Lord Rama): section 3

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

Made in West Bengal, Bengal Region, India, Asia

Early 20th century

Opaque watercolor on cloth-backed paper

Framed (On Right): 7 feet 9 3/4 inches × 28 inches × 3 inches (238.1 × 71.1 × 7.6 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Stella Kramrisch, 1964

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Patas are handscrolls that depict popular stories in a vertical sequence of framed segments, each of which represents one episode in the story. Professional painter-minstrels called patuas create these scrolls to illustrate their sung stories. As a song unfolds, the patua unrolls the appropriate segment and holds it up for his audience to see. Patuas move from village to village to entertain the rural community, performing in the courtyard of a temple, a school, a large home, or even in the shade of a tree.