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Asian art

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Hanuman rescuing Rama and Lakshmana



Kalighat style


circa 1830 - 1930


The images were intended to aid domestic worship and typically illustrate Hindu deities. Later, mass-produced prints replaced Kalighat paintings. The Hindu gods and goddesses were popular subjects for the Kalighat artists. 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.


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



Media categories

Painting , Watercolour

Materials used

watercolour with silver paint on paper


50.2 x 26.4 cm (irreg.)

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Purchased 1959


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Kalighat style

Works in the collection


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

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.