Why are the Buddha and his disciples shown held aloft by Hanuman, while two ordinary monkeys caper nearby?
This question has no clear answer. The subject is rare, and seems not to have been studied by scholars. But episodes and figures from the Rama epic turn up often in Thai Buddhist contexts. Rama was associated with the Buddha, either as the Buddha-to-be in a previous life or as a more general parallel. So, if Rama is sometimes shown supported or conveyed by Hanuman, then perhaps the Buddha can be too.
At the lower edge of this painting is a damaged inscription. It follows the pattern of dedicatory inscriptions on Thai Buddhist paintings in this format. It says that the painting of the Buddha is given by Mother So-and-So for the Buddhist religion. She hopes that the donation will contribute to her reaching nirvana in the future.
(Exhibition Label from The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe)