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The monkey Hanuman carrying the heroes Rama and Lakshmana
Place of Origin: India, Bihar state, Mithila region
Date: December 14, 1977
Materials: Ink and colors on paper
Style or Ware: Mithila or Madhubani
Dimensions: H. 30 in x W. 22 1/2 in, H. 76.20 cm x W. 57.15 cm
Credit Line: Museum purchase
Department: South Asian Art
Collection: Painting
Object Number: 1999.39.21
On Display: No

More Information

Exhibition History: "The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe," Asian Art Museum, October 21, 2015–January 15, 2017
Additional Label:

A frequent representation in art and popular imagery shows Hanuman striding forward with small figures of Rama and his brother Lakshmana on his shoulders. Here Hanuman is distinguished by a monkey-like face, a club, and a long striped tail.

Two interpretations of this scene are common. In one, Hanuman is thought to be carrying the brothers to meet the monkey leader Sugriva for the first time. In another, he has rescued Rama and Lakshmana from the underworld, where they were captured by one of Ravana’s demonic brothers. The latter scene is found in numerous tellings of the Rama epic, but not in the Valmiki Ramayana.

This regional style of painting is thought to have originated when, in the mid-1960s, village women transferred their traditional wall-painting skills to paper, finding a new source of income to support their families. Baua Devi was one of the youngest women to begin painting on paper and has become one of the best-known artists of the region.

(Exhibition Label from The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe)


Exhibition History: "The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe," Asian Art Museum, October 21, 2015–January 15, 2017
Expanded Label:

A frequent representation in art and popular imagery shows Hanuman striding forward with small figures of Rama and his brother Lakshmana on his shoulders. Here Hanuman is distinguished by a monkey-like face, a club, and a long striped tail.

Two interpretations of this scene are common. In one, Hanuman is thought to be carrying the brothers to meet the monkey leader Sugriva for the first time. In another, he has rescued Rama and Lakshmana from the underworld, where they were captured by one of Ravana’s demonic brothers. The latter scene is found in numerous tellings of the Rama epic, but not in the Valmiki Ramayana.

This regional style of painting is thought to have originated when, in the mid-1960s, village women transferred their traditional wall-painting skills to paper, finding a new source of income to support their families. Baua Devi was one of the youngest women to begin painting on paper and has become one of the best-known artists of the region.

(Exhibition Label from The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe)