LACMA acquires rare Balinese painting
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has acquired an exceptional Balinese painting depicting The Temptation of Arjuna, from the estate of renowned Indian art historian Ananda Coomaraswamy. Dated to the early 20th century, the painting depicts an episode from the Arjuna-Wiwaha (The Marriage of Arjuna), from a, eleventh century poem written by Mpu Kanwa for the court of Javanese King Airlangga (1019 to 1042). The story comes from an Old Javanese version of the Mahabharata (The Great Epic of India), which talks of the powerful and spiritually-adept warrior, Arjuna, who endures a task designed by Indra, chief of the gods.
During the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth century, narrative paintings depicting mythological subjects became popular in the courts of the Bali village of Kamasan. Traditional shadow-puppets known as wayang kulit influenced the stylisation of the figures in these paintings, with the hand gestures and bodily postures are reminiscent of the dance drama genre known as wayang wong.
The painting is exhibited alongside a pair of batik garments from the north coast of Java from the same period.
The Temptation of Arjuna, Scenes from the Arjunawiwaha will be shown at the Ahmanson Building, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, till July 21st, 2013.