Hanuman, standing, in anjali mudra (part of a Rama shrine)Artist(s)IndianArtist NationalityIndian (South Asian)Object Creation Date18th centuryMedium & SupportbronzeDimensions
6 1/8 in x 2 9/16 in x 2 7/16 in (15.5 cm x 6.5 cm x 6.2 cm);6 1/8 in x 2 9/16 in x 2 7/16 in (15.5 cm x 6.5 cm x 6.2 cm)Credit LineGift of Dr. and Mrs. Leo S. Figiel and Dr. and Mrs. Steven J. FigielLabel copy
March 28, 2009
Hanuman is one of many characters associated with the epic events told and retold in Indian performances and oral recitations. He is one of four figures frequently grouped together to represent the events described in the Ramayana. The four characters include Rama, his wife, Sita, his brother, Lakshmana, who accompanied them into exile, and Hanuman, the devoted monkey general. Though the bronzes may be shown with simple gestures and accoutrements (in this case, a basic posture of devotion), they give physical form to characters and events imagined and remembered. They also allow for ritual worship of gods in forms that recall their heroic deeds. As material bodies, the gods can be treated with honor and affection: dressed, fed, bathed, entertained, and touched. This bronze has been rubbed copiously by devotees, whose hands have polished its surfaces smooth.
(Label for UMMA South and Southeast Asia Gallery Opening Rotation, March 2009)Subject matter
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.Physical Description
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.Primary Object Classification Sculpture Primary Object TypefigureAdditional Object Classification(s)Ritual ObjectCollection AreaAsianRights
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