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Hanuman is depicted with a human body and a monkey head. He stands in an unbending posture of devotion with his hands held on his chest with the palms together in a gesture of prayer, namaskara. He wears a lower garment that is decorated with belts and pendant loops and the cloth has formal decorative folds cascading down his sides. He wears a decorated belt and necklaces, bracelets and armlets, with shoulder loops, earrings, and a simple crown with a leaf shape at the top. He wears a dagger at his waist and his tail curves up behind him making a loop top frame his head like a halo.
Artist Unknown, India, Tamil Nadu
18th century
The monkey Hanuman, often referred to as a monkey god, figures prominently in the epic, the Ramayana, telling the story of the incarnation of Vishnu and his war against the demon king of Lanka, Ravana. He is the most important of the monkey hosts and served important function in the story. He is often sculpted to fit into a set of sculptures depicting the god Rama, the hero of the Ramayana, and his brother Lakshman and his wife Sita. The groups sometimes signify the coronation of the god Rama, which is the end of the story, but sometimes the grouping is of them all standing. He has a devotional following of his own and is usually depicted as a human with a monkey’s head.
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Leo S. Figiel and Dr. and Mrs. Steven J. Figiel
Saturday, August 13, 2022