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Bharata and Shatrughna Take Leave of Their Grandfather

c. 1690-1700
Artist/maker unknown, Indian
The pages from this series, known as the Shangri Ramayana after the town where it was "discovered" in 1956, were most likely made at slightly different times by at least four painters. This page is the work of the senior-most master. The bowing, blue-skinned man is probably not the hero Rama, but rather Bharata, one of his three half-brothers. Two chariots stand ready as Bharata reverently touches the feet of his maternal grandfather. He and his brother Shatrughna are leaving to return to Ayodhya, the capital of their father, King Dasharatha. Unknowingly, however, they return to tragedy. Thanks to the maneuvering of his mother, Bharata has been declared king during his absence, his beloved brother Rama has been exiled to the forest, and Dasharatha has died from grief....

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