Stories from the Ramayana are an integral part of the aural folklore, though time and again art tries to visually narrate them. This painting depicts an episode during the exile of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana. While they were wandering in the forest, they incurred the wrath of the demons. Surupnakha, seen here with a castrated nose, was a giantess who first tried to entice Rama, who resisted her advances, saying that he was married. She then leaned towards Lakshmana, wanting to marry him. But Lakshmana also spurned her. Surupnakha then attacked Sita but Lakshmana in turn attacked the giantess, cutting off her nose. Surupnakha sought vengeance through her elder brother Ravana and induced him to carry off Sita to Lanka.
The unique aspect of this painting is that the artist has used different body colours for different people. He has used blue for Rama's body signifying his role as an avatar of Vishnu; the fair Sita and Lakshmana belonging to the mortal world; the dark and ugly Surupnakha symbolizes the evil side of demons and giants.
The lush green and serene background stands witness to the gruesome event.
This description by Kiranjyot.
Of Related Interest: