The current and following lots belong to a series of illustrations known as the 'Shangri' Ramayana after Shangri, the place of residence of the branch of the Kulu royal family formerly in possession of the largest portion of these paintings. The illustrations belong to the 'Lanka Kanda' section of the epic, which relates the events leading up to the assault on Ravana's stronghold.
W. G. Archer found Kulu the most likely origin for the series but more recently B. N. Goswamy has attempted to reattribute the Ramayana series to Bahu (Jammu), since there are three inscribed portraits of Bahu nobles in this style. However, these depictions may have been done as records of visiting dignitaries, since there are also portraits of Mankot rulers completed in a similar idiom. Thus the final attribution of the origin for the 'Shangri' Ramayana remains problematic.
Archer distinguishes four styles within the series and the current work is from a relatively small group in what he terms 'Style III.' Other leaves from this series are in the National Museum, New Delhi; Bharat Kala Bhavan, Benares; British Museum; Victoria and Albert Museum and several important private collections. Also see M. S. Randhawa, Basholi Painting, 1959, pls. 16 & 18; and William G. Archer, Indian Paintings from the Punjab Hills, 1973, vol. I, pp. 325-9 and vol. II, pls. 1-5, pp. 238-243.
For other illustrations from the same series see Sotheby's New York, April 1, 2005, lots 108 & 109, Sotheby's New York, September 20, 2005, lots 125 & 126, and Sotheby's New York, March 29, 2006, lots 157 & 158.
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