UNKNOWN ARTIST, NORTH BALI, SCENE FROM THE BHARATAYUDDHA, BISMA AND SALYA

LOr. 3390-154

Drawing on Dutch paper, watermark Pro Patria, countermark VdL, 34 x 41.2 cm

Two male wayang figures are facing each other. They make gestures indicating that they are speaking and listening. The man on the right is wearing a turban, a sign that he is a sage or a priest. Both Korawa and Pandawa were taught by such sages, not only in spiritual affairs but also in military practices.
A text in Balinese script in ink bottom left says: “sang salya”, Salya, and at the bottom on the right: “sang bisma”, Bisma.

Bisma points something out to Salya. They both belong to the Korawa party. The scene might refer to an episode described in the Old Javanese Bharatayuddha XII: 8-10. A new fight in a new battle-array, called Garuda, begins. Drestadyumna is the commander-in-chief of the Pandawa and Sakuni of the Korawa. The Korawa are driven back. Duryodana, Krepa, Salya, Dusasana and Sakuni ask their tutors Bisma and Drona for help. They say that they should retreat. The giving of this advice by Bisma to Salya is probably represented in the drawing.

The sash of Salya and the trousers, sash and jacket of Bisma are very modern. The latter has rather large red eyes, a beard, whiskers and a moustache. There is a large ornament in the shape of a bird’s head at the back of his turban.

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