Narrative Scroll (Pata) showing scenes from the Ramayana (Legend of Lord Rama): sections 1 and 2

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

Made in Bankura District, West Bengal, Bengal Region, India, Asia

Early 20th century

Opaque watercolor on cloth-backed paper

13 feet 9 inches × 18 1/2 inches (419.1 × 47 cm) Framed (component a? - on left): 7 feet 4 1/2 inches × 27 3/4 inches × 3 inches (224.8 × 70.5 × 7.6 cm) Framed (component b? - in center): 7 feet 11 1/2 inches × 29 inches × 3 inches (242.6 × 73.7 × 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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In Bengal, wandering storytellers favored large scrolls to illustrate the stories they performed for villagers. Now in three sections, this complete scroll features selected episodes from a Bengali version of the Ramayana. Due to limited space, Hanuman's heroism is condensed to one panel (at the top of section 3), where his ability to grow to gigantic proportions and his deed of carrying the herb mountain are shown together. The twenty episodes on this scroll were likely chosen, and probably painted, by the storyteller himself to suit his own version of the story.