Object Record

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Catalog number 2003.3.2
Title Great Departure: Scene from a Jataka
Object Name Painting
Description Thai narrative paintings have just one purpose to guide and inspire the devout through the illustrations of religious traditions or moral values.

Thai painters derived their inspiration from Jatakas, religious fables that recall the lives of the Buddha as either human being or beast and his path to enlightenment. The last ten tales of 550 Jatakas, to the exclusion of all others, are subjects for painting, and teaching. Although the paintings are not intended as individual aesthetic expressions, they are nonetheless works of art in their own right.

The Jataka in this Thai narrative painting, Great Departure, depicts Prince Siddharta Guatama upon his horse Kanthanka, carried noiselessly through the air by the gods to insure his escape. Indra and Brahma accompany the entourage, while the groom Chandaka hangs onto Kathanka's tail. Ahead of the party is Mara, the great deceiver, who attempts to foil Siddharta's mission. Siddharta's renunciation of normal life for the life of the monk is depicted in the second Jataka, Cutting the Hair.

Reference: Winter, Amy H., with Xiaoping Lin (eds.), "The Light of Infinite Wisdom: Asian Art from the Godwin-Ternbach Museum and Other Collections," Queens College, CUNY, 2003.
Medium/Material Pigment and gilt on cotton
Dimensions H-17.75 L-20.75 inches
Year Range from 1782
Year Range to 1851
Search Terms Asian
Thailand
South and Southeast Asia
18th century AD
19th century AD
Narrative
Landscape
Equestian
Mythological
Legend
Devotional
Figure
Diety
Buddha
Jataka
Exhibition and Publication History "The Light of Infinite Wisdom: Asian Art from the Godwin-Ternbach Museum and Other Collections," A. Winter, X. Lin, Curators, G-TM, 10/15-12/20/2003, #31, ill., pp. 20-21.
Culture Thai