Detail from the mural in what might be termed the cloisters of the Wat of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok. Created 200 years ago, roughly. It was and indeed is a Royal commission which has been restored at least once and was in its own day the work of many artists, each allotted a chapter of the Ramayana to set forth on a panel of which the image above is a fragment.
There are many versions of Ramayana in Indian languages, besides Buddhist, Sikh and Jain adaptations. There are also Cambodian (Reamker), Indonesian, Filipino, Thai (Ramakien), Lao, Burmese and Malay versions of the tale.
With its restorations, for the better or the worse, this mural has the thrill of a continuing mutual art – With others, I wrote and signed The Manifesto of Mutual Art back in the early seventies. So for me, it’s like discovering the Bayeaux Tapestry.
And after all, my headline, the saying, was just as true two hundred years ago.
See also The Ramakien Mural