A Tale of Love and Adventure

March 5, 2011 at 12:26 am | Posted in itchy mouth | Leave a comment
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Frankly speaking, Itchyfingers didn’t plan to visit this exhibition until we were museum hopping for bunnies red packet. :p But it turned out to be a very pleasant and interesting one. :p

Climbed up the stairs and saw this hanging from the ceiling…why did it
remind me of Sun Wukong 孙悟空 under the ‘wu zhi shan’ 五指山?

So this monkey figure is called Hanuman…

Ramayana Revisited – A Tale of Love & Adventure begins here….

According to the introduction, “Ancient Indian epics the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, are at once uniquely Indian as well as universal. Its characters, situations and values are grounded in ancient Indian culture, yet remain relevant today and are known globally. Thousands of years ago, the story of Ramakatha emerged from the existing shared culture on the Indian subcontinent. This story led to the making of the epic Ramayana by a poet named Valmiki. Transmitted orally, the story of Ramayana spread throughout India and travelled beyond its shores to the East as far as Japan and the West as far as Iran. In Southeast Asia in particular, it has indigenised beyond recognition…”

This bronze Hanuman’s gesture shows him in the role of the servant of Rama.
Hanuman, the son of Vayu, the wind god and Anjana, was an ape who was
powerful, wise and faithful. He was a selfless devotee of Rama – one of the most
important characters in the Ramayan tale, and one of the most popular
examples of devotion to god in Hinduism. Hanuman’s popularity extends across
Southeast Asia. He is associated with Sun Wukong, the monkey god in the late
16th century classical Chinese epic, Journey to the West…

This comical looking sculpture is the “Nagalingam”, a special form of a
‘snake-lingam’, which originally goes back to ancient fertility rites connected
with snakes. Snake-stones are worshipped by childless couples in the hope
of the blessing of a child

Silver bowl with scene of Rama and Maricha emerging from the Golden

This beautiful painting shows “Rama, Lakshmana and Sita going into the
forest” to begin their 14 years exile. Madhubani painting is a style of Indian
painting practiced in the Mithila region of Bihar. Artists of this style either
use bright colours and bold lines with an abundance of nature surrounding
the figures, or line drawn figures without any colours like this one here

This is a Kangra style of painting that depicts the two princes, “Bharata and
Shatrunghna leaving Ayodhya in search of Rama”, to restore him to the throne
of Ayodhya

Part of the painting of Rama and Lakshmana meet Jatayu, king of Birds, who
was wounded with his wings slightly detached from his body. Following
his instruction before he died, they met Shabari (the lady with white hair here).
This story depicts the strong emphasis on devotee-deity relationship

I like these silhouetted figures on the signages. They are Rama’s son, Lava
(left) and Kusha (right), who narrate the tale chapter by chapter. This is
Chapter Four of the exhibition – “Meeting the Monkey Army”

This painting is called “Rama Shoots through Seven Trees”. On the second
panel, Rama assures Sugriva, the exiled monkey king, by demonstrating his
prowess – piercing seven trees with a single arrow. I really like the crude
but straight-forward way they depict scenes on their art…haha…see how
the crown of trees fall and there is even an arrow sign to show the direction!

Masks of monkey soldiers by Cambodian artisans

Hanuman fighting against demons…Oh..I absolutely love how they draw
the heads rolling and the dismembering of limbs! Hahahah!!! So violent! 😀

Another very interesting piece. Hanuman crossed the ocean in search for
Sita. On the enlarged area, Hanuman met Surasa, the Mother of all Serpents.
Whoever wants to cross the ocean must enters her mouth first…so Hanuman
tricks her by expanding his size bit by bit as she expands her mouth (second
right panel), and quickly reducing himself to the size of a fly as he enters
her mouth and escapes through her ear. The artist even showed Hanuman
being swallowed inside Surasa’s stomach, and other monkeys pulling
Hanuman out from Surasa’s mouth (bottom left panel)…Hahah…so graphic! :p

The arrival of the monkey army in Lanka! Another Kangra style of painting
which features such fine details…

Really reminds you of Sun Wukong! 😀

Having woken up from his six-months slumber, Kumbhakarna sits down
to eat pieces of meat and wines. Then he went to the battlefield and began
swallowing Rama’s army of monkey soldiers…Haha…

It was really fun and interesting to read about the stories behind each painting. But with so much reading required to understand the paintings, I just wished the curators would turn up the lightings as it was a bit tiring for the eyes. Nevertheless, I am glad I visited the Ramayan Revisited: A Tale of Love and Adventure!

Also see related posts:
> Museum Hopping for Bunnies


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