Bharata is the honourable half-brother of Rama, hero of the Ramayana. Bharata’s mother Queen Kaikeyi wanted Rama exiled and Bharata crowned. Bharata opposed her but Rama convinced him to rule until his return from exile. Bharata served as regent from nearby Nandigrama rather than Ayodhya. Leaving for Nandigrama, Bharata stands surrounded by men armed for the journey. His mother watches from a terrace. Bharata wears the simple robes and antelope-skin wrap of an ascetic. Signifying his loyalty, Bharata wears Rama’s sandals on his head.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label