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Hanuman (Hanoman), monkey hero of the Ramayana, approx. 1950

Hanuman (Hanoman), monkey hero of the Ramayana, approx. 1950

Hanuman (Hanoman), monkey hero of the Ramayana, approx. 1950. Indonesia; Bandung, West Java. Wood, cloth, and mixed media. From the Mimi and John Herbert Collection, F2000.86.85.

Hanuman (Hanoman), monkey hero of the Ramayana, approx. 1950

Hanuman (Hanoman), monkey hero of the Ramayana, approx. 1950. Indonesia; Bandung, West Java. Wood, cloth, and mixed media. From the Mimi and John Herbert Collection, F2000.86.85.

Hanuman (Hanoman), monkey hero of the Ramayana, approx. 1950
Hanuman (Hanoman), monkey hero of the Ramayana, approx. 1950

The heroic vulture Jatayus and the monkey general, Hanuman (Hanoman) are allies of prince Rama and help to save the princess Sita (Sinta) from the ten-headed demon king Ravana (Rawana) in the Ramayana, a great Hindu epic. Throughout the course of the story, Rama is aided by a variety of animals including monkeys, bears, and birds.

The celebrated white monkey general Hanuman, son of the wind god Vayu (Bayu), possesses supernatural powers. He flies to the kingdom of Lanka in a single bound to rescue the lovely Sita, who is captive in Ravana’s palace. Hanuman hides behind a tree in the asoka garden and waits until it is safe to approach the princess. After presenting Sita with Rama’s ring as proof that he is her friend and ally, the monkey general spies on her captors. In order to meet his enemy, Hanuman allows himself to be captured. Ravana pours oil on Hanuman’s tail and sets it ablaze. The monkey feels no pain, however, and escapes, lighting the city on fire in the process. The monkey general then returns with news of Sita to Rama and Rama’s brother, Lakshmana. Leading an army of monkeys, Hanuman builds a bridge to the island of Lanka in order to invade the demon palace and rescue Sita. Rama rewards the monkey general for his bravery with the gift of longevity.