The Heroic Narrative in Indian Painting

The Heroic Narrative in Indian Painting
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In India, heroic narratives frequently appear in both courtly and popular painting traditions. Illustrated Ramayana and Devimahatmya manuscripts and individual paintings like those seen here were commissioned by court patrons, and were intended for private viewing. Popular paintings were produced for traveling performers across India for use in storytelling. The chitrakatha paintings of central India were made between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. The word chitrakatha literally means picture story. These paintings typically were produced as a series, and mounted back to back. During a performance, they were either attached to an upright pole or placed on a board balanced against the seated storyteller’s knees, and then rotated from one scene to the next. Stories were sung in local dialects, accompanied by musicians.

- Julie Romain, South and Southeast Asian Art, (2009)

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