Markendeya purana series: Bhavana on tiger confronts a demon / Rama and Hanuman

Accession Number

Markendeya purana series: Bhavana on tiger confronts a demon / Rama and Hanuman


Artist Nationality
Indian (South Asian)

Object Creation Date
late 18th century

Medium & Support
ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on cloth

46 3/4 in x 34 9/16 in (118.7 cm x 87.8 cm)

Subject matter
The looming figure of the gold-skinned hero in the foreground is the sage Bhavana, who was considered the founder of a caste of itinerant painters and storytellers. Here Bhavana is shown in gigantic scale mounted on an equally oversized tiger as he challenges a dark demon. The demon rides in a horse-drawn chariot, so small by comparison that it is easy to overlook, and other tiny warriors fill the spaces between the protagonists. In the upper register, separated from the battle by a narrow strip of floral patterns, is an idyllic scene a queen in her garden accompanied by attendants. The long-necked birds in the trees and the variety of patterns in the women’s costumes add charm to the scene.
This painting is a section of a long vertical scroll that would have been carried from village to village by itinerant storytellers. Such paintings often deal with caste-specific or region-specific narratives; in this case, it is the lineage of painters that is celebrated. The storyteller would unroll one large scene each evening and narrate the exploits of Bhavana. The large scale, simplified drawing, and bold colors make it especially appropriate for outdoor viewing from a distance.

Physical Description
The image is split into two unequal parts; a lower and upper. In the lower half of the image the figures are all holding weapons. The background of the image is red with the majority of the figures being yellow in color. A single blue figure is located in the lower left. This figure is seated on a wheeled, vehicle.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
figure painting

Additional Object Classification(s)

Collection Area

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devils (spirits)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted