An Alternative Ending: Rama Defeated by His Sons



Attributed to Purkhu and his workshop


An Alternative Ending: Rama Defeated by His Sons


19th Century


India, Kangra


Opaque pigments on paper
Frame: 17 1/2 x 20 1/2 in. (44.5 x 52.1 cm)
Maximum (visible): 15 3/4 x 12 1/4 in. (40 x 31.1 cm)

Object Number



Sons battle their father and uncles in this illustration of a scene from a later version of the Ramayana. Now ruling in Ayodhya, Rama begins the Ashvamedha, a horse sacrifice to define his territory. In this ritual, a horse, followed by the king’s army, wanders freely for one year, claiming new territories for the king. On this journey, the horse strays into the hermitage of the poet-sage Valmiki, where, unbeknownst to Rama, Sita and her twin sons Lava and Kusha have been living in her second exile. Lava and Kusha capture the horse and battle against the army of Rama, the father they have never known. At top center, Valmiki teaches young Lava and Kusha. Moving counter-clockwise, Sita embraces her sons, bidding them farewell as they head into battle. The sacrificial horse can be seen partly hidden in the bushes near other forest animals. Immediately to the right, Lava releases the captives Hanuman and Jambavan. The primary scene fills lower portion of the painting, and depicts the gruesome culmination of their battle, with Rama and his brothers left unconscious, but not dead.

Credit Line

Gift of Jayantilal K. and Geeta J. Patel & Family to further the study of Hinduism


MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, October 27, 2014 - November 7, 2016


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2014.
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Attributed to Purkhu and his workshop, “An Alternative Ending: Rama Defeated by His Sons,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed February 28, 2024,


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