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Kamasan Ramayana Garuda painting

March 2023

Another painting for my collection. Again, from the local auction house, this one was described as “A Kamasan Balinese framed ink on silk folk art piece depicting religious scenes. 79 x 75cm.”

It is not on silk, it is on a cotton very similar to some of my other paintings, in particular my Pan Rumiasih & Hasil Karya purchased in 2022. The cloth, colours and quality are very similar. From this I would guess that this painting is from around that era, possibly the 1980s or 1990s. I have no other way of dating it, it is unsigned.

The painting has been cut down and framed to exclude the intricate border, but you can see what remains on the reverse. So, the original painting would have been more than its current 79cm x 75cm. This is the first Kamasan that I have acquired that has been framed behind glass. The glass is thick non reflective glass. It is just a solid hardwood frame with glass, there is no backing. The single layer of brown paper was very brittle, so I have removed it, unfortunately it did not reveal any signature.

Unlike other Kamasan paintings, this one seems to depict only one scene. One day I plan to read the Ramayana and maybe I will be able to figure out what part of the story this comes from. I can identify Garuda in the sky and Hanuman in the foreground. The two central characters seem to be wrapped by a serpent. If you are able to tell me more about this scene I would really appreciate if you could comment below.

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