The current lot is from an album of illustrations known as the 'Shangri' Ramayana after Shangri, the place of residence of a branch of the royal family of Kulu who were formerly in possession of the largest portion of these paintings. The Shangri Ramayana is widely considered to be one of the most important narrative series of paintings from the Punjab Hills. The present illustration is from the 'Lanka Kanda' section of the epic, which relates the events leading up to the assault on Ravana's stronghold.
W. G. Archer, who was one of the first scholars to examine the Shangri Ramayana, divided the paintings into different stylistic groups. The present lot belongs to the relatively small group of 'Style III' paintings, see W.G. Archer, Indian Paintings from the Punjab Hills, London, 1973, vol.1, p.328. B.N. Goswamy has attempted to re-attribute the series to Bahu, near Jammu, on account of three inscribed portraits of Bahu nobles in the same style.
Paintings from the Shangri Ramayana series are in the collections of the National Museum, New Delhi; Bharat Kala Bhavan, Benaras; British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum, among other institutions. Other illustrations from the same series were sold in these rooms, 19 October 2016, lot 26, and Sotheby's New York, April 1, 2005, lots 108 & 109; September 20, 2005, lots 125 & 126; March 29, 2006, lots 157 & 158 and September 19, 2006, lots 9 & 10.
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