Hanuman Conversing

Period: Chola period (880–1279)

Date: 11th century

Culture: India (Tamil Nadu)

Medium: Copper alloy

Dimensions: H. 25 3/8 in. (64.5 cm); W. 7 1/4 in. (18.4 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Purchase, Bequests of Mary Clarke Thompson, Fanny Shapiro, Susan Dwight Bliss, Isaac D. Fletcher, William Gedney Beatty, John L. Cadwalader and Kate Read Blacque, Gifts of Mrs. Samuel T. Peters, Ida H. Ogilvie, Samuel T. Peters and H. R. Bishop, F. C. Bishop and O. M. Bishop, Rogers, Seymour and Fletcher Funds, and other gifts, funds and bequests from various donors, by exchange, 1982

Accession Number: 1982.220.9


Hanuman, adviser to King Sugriva of the great monkey clan, is one of the most appealing Hindu deities. His bravery, courage, and loyalty throughout the Ramayana are renowned. Here, Hanuman gestures obeisance to Rama with his raised left hand while engaging in animated discussion with his Lord. This sculpture was part of an ensemble at the center of which were Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana. It was included among an assemblage of processional icons kept by Vaishnava temples in south India for festival use. Typical of Chola-period representations, Hanuman has assumed anthropomorphic form, with only his face and tail confirming his monkey identity. Among the finest bronze images of Hanuman to have survived from the Chola kingdom of south India, this work embodies his noble, virtuous character with great sensitivity.