Scene from the Ramayana (?) (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

5th century
Indian
terracotta
Uttar Pradesh, India
Overall: 12 1/2 × 21 1/4 × 4 in. (31.75 × 53.98 × 10.16 cm)
89.139
Terra-cotta panels, often illustrating stories from Indian mythology, were made to decorate Gupta-period brick temples throughout the Gangetic Valley. The scene shown on this damaged example is somewhat enigmatic, but may be a scene from the great Hindu epic Ramayana. A large monkey (indicated by his tail) alights on a chariot, poised to strike its male occupant, whose back is turned to the viewer. Part of a shield emerges from inside the cart, as does the head of a second occupant, perhaps the vehicle's charioteer or an abductee. The dynamic composition is remarkable, and several of its elements-including the startled horses-burst outside the panel's frame.
Gupta period
Gift of an Anonymous Donor
Dye, Joseph M. The Arts of India: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. London: Philipp Wilson, 2001. (cat. no. 20, p. 113)

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