The epic poem Ramayana was first composed by Valmiki in the middle of the first millennium. 

It tells the story of Rama, an incarnation of Vishnu, who epitomises the Hindu concept of dharma or duty and is a model for Hindus of the perfect son, brother, husband and King. Rama, soon to be appointed King, is instead exiled to the forest, after one of his father’s other wives tricks the King into appointing her own son. Rama is joined on his journey by his brother Lakshmana and wife Sita, who is captured by the demon Ravana. Rama and Lakshmana are joined by Hanuman and his army of monkeys to rescue the princess. 

The rulers of Mewar claimed Rama as an ancestor and commissioned the creation of this manuscript, which resulted in over 400 paintings that illustrate the famous poem. 

In this image Ravana, on hearing of his eldest son's death, is overwhelmed with grief. Filled with rage he rushes to his garden (where Sita has remained, refusing to enter his palace) to kill his prisoner. Sita, calmly awaiting her fate, is saved by Ravana's minister who restrains the king. Instead Ravana sends out more troops to battle Lord Rama and Hanuman's army, seen in this image leaving the palace to the accompaniment of war-drums and trumpets.

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Full title:
The third part of an illustrated account of the Buddha’s life, from his resolve to depart from his royal position, and the endurance of various austerities before his enlightenment
1649–1652, India
Manuscript / Illustration
© Ravana sends out more troops to battle Lord Rama, f.128, British Library
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Add MS 15296

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