1st Edition

The Multivalence of an Epic Retelling the Rāmāyaṇa in South India and Southeast Asia

Edited By Parul Pandya Dhar Copyright 2024
    372 Pages 119 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume examines The Rāmāyaṇa traditions of South India and Southeast Asia. Bringing together 19 well-known scholars in Rāmāyaṇa studies from Cambodia, Canada, France, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, UK, and USA, this thought-provoking and elegantly illustrated volume engages with the inherent plurality, diversity, and adaptability of the Rāmāyaṇa in changing socio-political, religious, and cultural contexts.

    The journey and localization of the Rāmāyaṇa is explored in its manifold expressions – from classical to folk, from temples and palaces to theatres and by-lanes in cities and villages, and from ancient to modern times. Regional Rāmāyaṇas from different parts of South India and Southeast Asia are placed in deliberate juxtaposition to enable a historically informed discussion of their connected pasts across land and seas. The three parts of this volume, organized as visual, literary, and performance cultures, discuss the sculpted, painted, inscribed, written, recited, and performed Rāmāyaṇas. A related emphasis is on the way boundaries of medium and genre have been crossed in the visual, literary, and performed representations of the Rāmāyaṇa.





    Exploring the Epic’s Multivalence: Rāmāyaṇas in Visual, Literary, and Performance Cultures

    Parul Pandya Dhar

    I. Visual Cultures: Sculptures, Paintings, and Inscriptions

    1. The Rāmāyaṇa Retold by Sculptors and Scribes in pre-Vijayanagara Karnataka

    Parul Pandya Dhar

    2. Stone, Wood, Paint: Rāma-Story Representations throughout Southeast Asia

    John Brockington

    3. Looking for Rāma: Traces of the Rāmāyaṇa in Temples of the Pallava Dynasty

    Valérie Gillet

    4. Rāmāyaṇa Retold in Khmer sculpture with Special Reference to the Yuddhakāṇḍa, c. 10th-12th centuries

    Rachel Loizeau

    5. Rāmāyaṇa Bronzes and Sculptures from the Cōḻa to Vijayanagara Times

    Sharada Srinivasan

    6. Mighty Messenger: Adaptation and Localization of Hanumān and the Rāmāyaṇa in Southeast Asia

    Gauri Parimoo Krishnan

    7. The Rāmāyaṇa Paintings of the Māliruñcōlai Temple: Nationalism under the Spell of Regionalism

    RKK Rajarajan

    8. Expressions of the Rāmāyaṇa Epic in Malaysian Arts

    Cheryl Thiruchelvam

    II. Literary Cultures: Texts, Recitation, and Associated Imagery

    9. The Discourse on Governance and Ethics as a Leitmotif in the Old Javanese Rāmāyaṇa or Rāmāyaṇa Kakawin

    Malini Saran

    10. Thai Rāmakīen: Its Close Links with South India

    Chirapat Prapandvidya

    11. From Kanauj to Laos: Development of the ‘Floating Maiden’ Episode in the Southeast Asian Rāma Tradition

    Mary Brockington

    12. Making of a Language and the Making of a Bhakti Text: The Story of the Composition of Tunćat Ezhuttaććan’s Adhyātma Rāmāyaṇaṃ Kiḷippāṭṭu

    A J Thomas

    13. Kumaran Asan’s ‘Cintāviṣṭayāya Sītā’, Sītā, Deep in Thought, a Translation

    Sudha Gopalakrishnan

    14. Mabasan Rāmāyaṇa, a Continuous Retelling of the Rāmāyaṇa in Bali

    Thomas M Hunter

    III. Performance Cultures: Theatre, Puppetry, and Folk Practices

    15. Representations of Rāvaṇa in a Kathakalī Piece and a Mythological Drama

    Paula Richman

    16. The Rāmāyaṇa of the Malay Shadow Play, Wayang Kulit Kelantan, and its Possible Parallels and Connections with the Epic Versions in Northern Southeast Asia

    Ghulam-Sarwar Yousof

    17. From Palace to Streets: Many Rāmāyaṇas from the Bylanes

    Krishna Murthy Hanuru

    18. The Making of Rāmāyaṇa in the Yakṣagāna of Coastal Karnataka

    Purushottama Bilimale

    19. Reamker Performance in Khmer Society

    Sirang Leng

    The Contributors



    Parul Pandya Dhar is art historian and professor in the Department of History, University of Delhi. She has authored The Toraṇa in Indian and Southeast Asian Architecture (2010), edited Indian Art History: Changing Perspectives (2011), and co-edited Temple Architecture and Imagery of South and Southeast Asia (2016), Asian Encounters: Exploring Connected Histories (2014), and Cultural Interface of India with Asia (2004), besides contributing several research articles.