. Puppet of Dasaratha. early 19th century. ink and color on leather. Anonymous Gift. 1985.660.
height: 60 in, 152.4000 cm; width: 24 in, 60.9600 cm
Puppet of Dasaratha
India, Andhra Pradesh
late 1700-early 1900s, Rajput dynasty
Ink and color on leather
This is a representation of Dasaratha, the mortal father of the god Rama and King of Ayodhya, and was probably used in shadow puppet plays of the epic Ramayana. Backlit and projected against a white cloth screen, the figure with his colorfully decorated robe and exaggerated facial expression would create a striking effect for the audience. Shadow plays of the Hindu epics are still performed by traveling puppeteer troupes in South India, though, sadly, the art form is losing out to the popularity of the cinema and television.
1972-1985, anonymous collector, purchased in Madras; 1985, DAM collection, anonymous gift.
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