(Indonesia – )
103.2 x 304.8 cm
This painting illustrates scenes from the story of Smaradahana. As the story goes the god Siwa is in deep meditation on Mount Meru but must be woken in order to fight the demon Nilarudraka who is threatening the world. Ironically it was Siwa who had initially granted Nilarudraka his extraordinary powers and who had also granted him his wish that nobody but Siwa’s own son would be able to defeat him. In the meantime the love god Smara is directed by the other gods to bring Siwa out of meditation (this is depicted on the left side). Smara whose aim is not only to wake Siwa but also to inspire him to fulfil is marital obligations with his wife Uma and thereby consecrate their marriage, fires his flower arrow into the heart of the meditating Siwa.
In the large scene on the right Siwa awakens. He is enraged, and appears in the form of a multi-armed and multi-headed monster (pamurtian), accompanied by the two demonic guardians Nandiswara and Mahakala. Siwa sets Smara on fire, whose feet are engulfed by flames. Smara’s wife Ratih witnesses the burning and three other figures (an ascetic and two gods) stand above them. Behind the burning god are his divine guardians and, below them, three courtiers and the two trusty servant clowns, Twalen and Merdah.
Asian Art Department, AGNSW, May 2014
Jackie Menzies (Curator), Donald Friends' Bali, Sydney, 1990.