The Ramayana in Indian Painting from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century by Amina Taha Hussein-Okada

The outstanding introduction to the illustration of the Ramayana in the history of Indian art presents the landmark manuscripts and the various painting schools from the 16th to the 19th century.

Amina Taha Hussein-Okada is Chief Curator at the Musée des Arts asiatiques – Guimet, where she is in charge of the Indian art collections.

Extract from the introduction :

“Though a curious and brilliant paradox in Indian history, it was as the behest of a Mughal emperor -aptly called Akbar, literally “the Great”, who reigned from 1556 to 1605- that in the last decades of the sixteenth century the very first illustrated manuscripts of the Ramayana were produced, thus pre-dating by more than half a century the royal commissions of the Rajput sovereigns of Rajasthan and the Punjab hills.[…] The Ramayana judiciously reminds us that Rama “is as deep as the ocean and as unyielding as the Himalaya. He is as mighty as Visnu, but as pleasant to behold as the moon. In his wrath he resembles the fire at the end of time, yet he rivals the earth in forbeance. In charity he is the equal of Kubera, giver of wealth, and in truthfulness like a second Dharma, the god of righteousness.”


Attributed to Syama Sundara. Sub-imperial Mughal school, c. 1597–1605. Gouache and gold on paper. Freer Gallery of Art (gift of Charles Lang Freer), Washington.

Amina Okada and Diane de Selliers interpreting an Indian miniature for the journalists © Laurent Schneiter, les éditions de Makassar

Amina Okada and Diane de Selliers interpreting an Indian miniature for the journalists © Laurent Schneiter, les éditions de Makassar


Taha Hussein-Okada

Amina Taha Hussein-Okada has also authored numerous articles and many books on the art and civilization of India:

  • 1989
  • Râjasthân, terre des seigneurs
  • Râjasthân, Land of Lords
  • 1990
  • Le Gange, fleuve des dieux et des hommes
  • The Ganges, River of Gods and Men
  • 1991
  • Ajantâ
  • 1991
  • L’Inde du XIXe siècle, Voyage aux sources de l’imaginaire
  • The India of the 19th century, Journey to the sources of the imagination
  • 1992
  • Le Grand Moghol et ses peintres, Miniaturistes de l’Inde aux XVIème et XVIIe siècle
  • The Great Mogul and his painters, Indian Miniaturists from the 16th and 17th century
  • 1995
  • Ganesh, la mémoire de l’Inde
  • Ganesha, the Memory of India
  • 2000
  • Râjasthân, vision de palais et de forteresses
  • Râjasthân, Vision of Palace and Fortress
  • 2003
  • Un joyau de l’Inde moghole,
    le mausolée d’I’timâd ud-Daulah
  • A Gem of Mogul India, the Mausoleum of I’timâd ud-Daulah
  • 2006
  • Sur les traces du Bouddha
  • In Buddha’s footprints
  • 2007
  • The Golden Age of Classical India
  • In Buddha’s footprints

She contributed to the updating of :

  • 1999
  • L’Art en Inde
  • Art in India
  • Citadelles et Mazenod

And was scientific and iconographic supervisor of :

  • 2009
  • Voyage au Cachemire
  • Journey to Cashmere
  • by François Bernier
  • Carnets des Tropiques

One of the principal authors of the exposition catalogue for :

  • 2002
  • Power and Desire
  • South Asian Paintings of the San Diego Museum of Art

She also wrote two catalogues on the permanent collections of the Musée des Arts Asiatiques – Guimet

  • 2000
  • Sculptures indiennes du Musée Guimet
  • Indian Sculptures of the Musée Guimet
  • 2000
  • L’Inde des Princes, la donation Jean et Krishnâ Riboud
  • The India of Princes, the John and Krishnâ Riboud donation
  • Which was given the award of the Ikuo Hirayama Foundation

She also published French translations of great classics of Sanskrit literature such as :

  • Seventy Tales of a Parrot
  • Shukasaptati
  • the Love-thief
  • Chaurapanchâshikâ

Amina Taha Hussein-Okada has been commissioner of many art exhibitions such as :

  • 1986
  • Rasa, the Nine Faces of Indian art
  • Galeries nationales du Grand Palais
  • 1986
  • La Cour du Grand Moghol
  • In the court of the Great Mogul
  • Bibliothèque Nationale
  • 1989
  • Miniatures de l’Inde impériale
  • Les peintres de la cour d’Akbar
  • Miniatures of Imperial India
  • the Painters of Akbar’s Court
  • Musée Guimet
  • 1991
  • Bronzes bouddhiques et hindous de l’antique Ceylan
  • Buddhist and Hindu Bronzes of Ancient Ceylon
  • Musée Guimet
  • 1997
  • L’Inde de Gustave Moreau
  • The India of Gustave Moreau
  • Musée Cernuschi
  • 2007
  • The Golden Age of Classical India
  • The Gupta Empire
  • Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais