Hanuman fighting with Ravana, the demon king of Lanka, opaque watercolour on paper, Kolkata, ca. 1830
Painting, in opaque watercolour with silver details, illustration to the Ramayana, Hanuman the monkey god fighting Ravana, the blue skinned, multi-headed, multi-armed demon king of Lanka against a tree. Hanuman is here painted in pale grey,to contrast with the blue skinned Ravana. The artist has included a minimal background here of one tree, to represent a forest setting. Personal adornments of necklaces, hair and ear ornaments are painted in tin alloy.
Calcutta was recognised as the Capital of British India from 1833-1912. By the 1830s, artists had arrived from rural villages in Bengal and began to produce paintings that reflected local history, mythology, customs and conflicts of a colonised society. As a popular art form, these artists are recognised for their use of brilliant colour, simplified images and swift brushstrokes that became the hallmark of Kalighat painting in the 19th and early 20th century.
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