Rama, a renowned archer, fires an arrow at an unseen foe. The figure’s pose and attire could be replicated in many other representations of the story, from dance-dramas to shadow puppets to paintings to gilded decoration on lacquer furniture. A performer in the classical dancedrama, for example, could strike a similar pose, as well as duplicate the details of Rama’s attire in his costume.
Here Rama stands on the head of a monkey. We would expect his animal attendant to be Hanuman, but this monkey lacks the coronet and garments usually worn by Hanuman, so its identity is uncertain.
This relief would have decorated the pediment or gable of a building, perhaps a Buddhist temple. In Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos the Rama epic is important in Buddhist contexts. Rama is seen as the model of a great king and is sometimes thought of as the Buddha-to-be in a previous life.
(Exhibition Label from The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe)