Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Wat Bo: South wall, upper register

South wall, upper register                                                                  

This register must be read from left to right.

Fig.1.On the left part of the picture, Ravana is depicted in his palace of Lanka giving the order to Ka Kanasun to transform into a crow and, together with others, to attack the ascetics in meditation. On the right half of this panel is another building, on blue background, in which Rama and Lakshmana are sitting close to Dasaratha (and a consort) listening to a request of an ascetic to kill Ka Kanasun. 
Fig.2.S. - Rama and Lakshmana are seen later in the forest (painted with a red background) killing a storm of crows flying around a hermitage with their arrows; one crow has the head of a yaksha, probably being Ka Kanasun (lower right).
Fig.3.S. – In their royal palace King Dasaratha (Tosarot) and his wife give permission to Rama and Lakshmana to leave (Rama has dark skin and stays in the right pavilion); the two are then shown walking away into the forest.
Fig.4.S. - Lakshmana (left) and Rama, after walking in the forest, reach a small pavilion where they can rest, where the two princes extends their arms over a small brazier to warm their hands.
Fig.5.S. - On a blue-black background, Rama is depicted taking part in the contest to obtain Sita’s hand in marriage (left). The ritual (svayamvara) was initiated by Janaka, king of Mithila.

Fig.5b.S.; on this panel Rama  is illustrated very low key,  after lifting from the ground the heavy ancestral bow of Shiva (lower left),rising it and shooting an arrow into the sky (center left). Janaka is depicted as an ascetic at the door of his hermitage (middle-center).

Fig.5b.S - Detail. Outside the hermitage Rama’s holds gently the hand of Sita, in the presence of a hunchback servant.
NOTE -The visual narrative of Wat Bo does not depict the marriage of Rama and Sita and the dethronement of Rama, but jumps directly to Rama’s banishment from Ayuthaya to wander in the forest for fourteen years.
Add captionFig.6.S. The event painted with light-blue background refers of Bharata and Sutragughna with their army begging Rama to return and take the throne.

Fig.7.S. - In the forest, Rama, Sita and Laksmana came to a river that they have to cross; the painting shows Laksmana pulling a thin raft across the waters with Rama and Sita on board.

Fig.8.S. - The degraded mural that follows illustrates the continuation of the wandering in the forest of Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana and their encounter with Surpanakha, transformed into a radiant girl of divine beauty, although her mouth still has the fangs of a demon. Because of her amorous insolence, Laksmana cut off her hands and feet, as well as her ears and nose; crying and bleeding she returned to her brother Ravana, reporting the accident and describe the beauty of Sita. Ravana became infatuated with Sita based on the description of Surpanakha and started to think of a way to steal her for him. 

Ravana is shown as the usual ogre but with two arms only, grabbing Sita with them, abduct her and flying away into the sky, but not on a chariot as in the texts. (Right, detail).
NOTE. In this scene Ravana is shown, not disguised as the brahmin narrated in texts.
Ravana flaying away after kidnapping Sita, is attacked by the giant bird Jatayu.

All this could happen because Rama had been distracted a dragged in deep forest by the demon Maricha, who, to please Ravan,a transformed into a golden gazelle.
Rama and Lakshmana were unaware the Sita had been kidnapped and are distressed emotionally and physically.

depictst Drama and Lakshmana fooled and lost in the jungle but the giant bird Jatayu gives them some information.
- After this episode, the visual narrative moves to the scene of the first encounter of the two princes with Hanuman. The following panel depicts Hanuman on a tree dropping leaves on the sleeping Rama to get his attention; Lakshmana was upset and aimed an arrow at Hanuman, but Rama stopped him. In the poorly preserved panel that follows, Lakshmana and Rama listen to Hanuman, all seated under a tree. Having introduced Sugrib it was inevitable to illustrate the fight of his brother Sugriva with the buffalo Valin in the picture that follows.
The visual narrative then switches to the legend of Valin fighting the buffalo Thoraphi.[1] The mural is deteriorated and the monkey king Valin (oddly painted red instead of green) is hardly discernable fighting the buffalo inside a narrow building, probably representing a cave in the intention of the painters.
The right half of the picture deals with episode after Valin killed Thoraphi, he thought that Sugriva had tried to usurp the throne by blocking him in the cave where he fought the bull; thus, Sugriva was banished from the kingdom, met Rama and formed an alliance.
 The mural depicts these three scenes, Hanuman entertaining Sugriva, Rama and Lakshmana kneeling in front of Sugriva asking an alliance. On top is Lakshmana comforting Sugriva.

[1] Dubhi in theReamker. See Roveda, Dundubhi (Torapi) in Ramayana narrative in Cambodia and Thailand, 2010. In the inscription it is written: “Peali fighting Thurphi”.

The end of the upper register of the south wall.
The continuation is on the middle register of the same wall.

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