Riimayana In Palm Leaf Pictures or Citraramayana is reproduced from Codex No. 12308 kept in the Oriental Research Institute and Manuscripts Library of the University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram. It contains 98 folios with drawings on one side alone, except on the last where, on the reverse side, a verse about the author as well as the date of the manuscript is given. Inclusive of the margin, each folio is 34 cm in length and 5 cm in breadth. On an average, there are four drawings in each folio. A few of them contain only one picture each, and in some of them much space is left blank. From the original numbering it is to be presumed that eight folios (3, 30, 38, 48, 63, 65, 74 and 77) are lost for ever. But a close perusal of the numbering will reveal that No. 43 is written on two leaves, and as such the missing number of leaves is only seven. Since the work is a pictorial representation intended to contain the great epic Ramayana in condensed sequences, it is difficult to trace the possible scenes originally drawn but lost. Even in the present form, the work is full in itself. After procuring the text, the Institute re-numbered the extant leaves in ascending order. The work was purchased at a cost of ten British pounds and added to the Library in 1934. The incredibly huge price paid for it at that time may be justified only by the artistic value of the work. The fact that there is no chance of rubbing off or altering a line, once incised on palm leaf, speaks volumes for the skill the artist had perfected. The drawings cover the story of the Ramayana only upto Yuddhakancla. The distribution of the number of leaves for each Kanda is as follows: Balakanda — 10, Ayodhydkancla — 7, Aranyakdnda — 18, Kiskindhakdncla — 8, Sundarakancla — 12 and Yuddhakdr)cla — 43.
This edition attempts to present the work in a sequence of 318 pictures. The drawings on each folio are taken apart, column by column, and enlarged to one and a half the original size. To suit the design of this album, certain sequences have been cut into two or three. In the present form the pictures are numbered serially. In the portion of notes, attempt is made to trace the lines of the Ramayana which might have passed through the mind of the artist, with necessary bibliographical details. The number of folios in the original manuscript, where the pictures in this edition occur, is given for easy reference. Certain features helpful to the appreciation of the pictorial sequences are also provided. My sincere thanks are due to Dr. T. Bhaskaran, Professor and Director (Retd.), Oriental Research Institute and Manuscripts Library, University of Kerala; Dr. K. V. Sarma, Adyar Library and Research Institute Madras; Sri. V. K. Moothathu, formerly Professor of English, University College, Thiruvananthapuram; Dr. P. Padmanabhan Thampi, Reader in Tamil, Oriental Research Institute and Manuscripts Library, University of Kerala; Sri. P. L. Shaji and Sri. H. Sadanandan Potti, Manuscript Assistants, Oriental Research Institute and Manuscripts Library, University of Kerala; Prof. Matthew Koshy, S. B. Press, Thiruvananthapuram; Sri. P. Sreekumar, Astrologer, Sivamalathy Jyothishalayam, Pettah, Thiruvananthapuram. I specially acknowledge my gratitude to the Government of Kerala for the generous gesture of granting a sizable portion of the initial investment, without which this venture would never have materialised.
**Contents and Sample Pages**