We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

Title

Hanuman rescuing Rama and Lakshmana

1880-1899

Artist

Kalighat style

India

circa 1830 - 1930

  • Details

    Other Title
    Hanuman, faithful servant of Rama, rescuing Ram and his brother Lakshman
    Place where the work was made
    Kalighat Kolkata (Calcutta) West Bengal India
    Date
    1880-1899
    Media categories
    Painting , Watercolour
    Materials used
    watercolour with silver paint on paper
    Dimensions
    50.2 x 26.4 cm (irreg.)
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Credit
    Purchased 1959
    Location
    Not on display
    Accession number
    EP4.1959
    Copyright

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Kalighat style

    Works in the collection

    6

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  • About

    Images such as this are known as Kalighat paintings, after the famous Kalighat temple in Kolkata (Calcutta) dedicated to Kali, the fearsome goddess of time and death. From around 1830, distinctive, quickly painted souvenirs were produced in large numbers for visitors who flocked to the temple. The images were intended to aid domestic worship and typically illustrate Hindu deities. Later, mass-produced prints replaced Kalighat paintings.

    This is a scene from the Ramayana, the epic poem recounting the adventures of Prince Rama. It depicts Hanuman, the monkey general, carrying the prince and his brother Lakshmana. Hanuman holds a club in each hand ready to battle with the demon god Ravana, who abducted Rama’s wife Sita and took her to his Palace on the island of Langka. Sometimes we find the brothers resting on Hanuman’s strong shoulders, while in others they are bound in his tail. While sometimes found painted black, blue or white, he is always red in his form as Mahavir (the heroic). As the story goes, Hanuman was so impressed by the promise of longevity embodied in sindur, the vermilion pigment that Sita applied to her forehead, he smeared it all over his body.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 3 publications

    • Kate Brittlebank, TAASA Review, 'Unexpected Connections: An Australian Kalighat Album Reunited', pg. 4-5, Sydney, Jun 2006.

    • Kate Brittlebank, TAASA Review, "Postscript: Kalighat's Missionaries', pg. 23, Sydney, Dec 2006.

    • Kate Brittlebank, Journal of the History of Collections, 'Anthropology, fine art and missionaries: The Berndt Kalighat album rediscovered', pg.127-142, Oxford, May 2008.

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