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HOME : Asian Art : Art of India : Hanuman Repoussé Disc
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Hanuman Repoussé Disc - OF.048
Origin: India
Circa: 320 AD to 550 AD
Dimensions: 1.75" (4.4cm) wide
Collection: Asian Art
Style: Gupta Period
Medium: Bronze

Additional Information: F
Location: Great Britain
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The Gupta Period is widely regarded as a golden age in Indian history, both for its prosperity and the flourishing of the arts. Gupta kings were renowned for their religious toleration and both Hinduism and Buddhism thrived. This bronze roundel depicts the Hindu monkey deity Hanuman. Widely believed to be an incarnation of Shiva, Hanuman was the son of Anjana, a female vanara (literally a ‘human with the tail of a monkey’). He is most famous for his role in the Hindu epic, the ‘Ramayana’, in which he helps Rama to rescue his wife Sita from the demon king Ravana. In this capacity he represents the qualities of selfless service and loyalty. His earlier life was just as colourful and he was renowned for his mischievous and adventurous spirit. As a child he believed the sun to be a fruit and chased it in an attempt to eat it. He also plagued a community of religious devotees by continually rearranging their devotional aids. As a result the gods decided to tame Hanuman by removing his knowledge of his own powers. These were later rediscovered and used to great effect, especially the ability to grow larger or smaller at will.

This disc portrays Hanuman in the guise of a warrior, presumably alluding to his military victories on Rama’s behalf. The figure crouches on his right knee, with both arms raised and clutching a dagger. The head is viewed in profile, with the hair and teeth deeply incised. He wears a dhoti over his lower body with a wide and ornate sash around the waist. The design was cleverly arranged by the artist to fit a circular format. Small traces of a green patina on the bronze testify to the antiquity of this marvellous piece. - (OF.048)


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