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Hanuman, 13th century

India: Tamil Nadu, 1200-1299
19-1/4 x 6-1/2 in. (48.9 x 16.5 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© The Norton Simon Foundation

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Hanuman is the devout follower of Rama, one of Vishnu's avatars, or reincarnations. His story is recounted in the epic Ramayana, a sacred text of the Hindus. In the epic, Hanuman is a great simian hero who helps Rama rescue his wife, Sita, who has been captured by the demon-king Ravana. Sita is represented in art usually as Rama's spouse, but Hanuman has become the focus of an independent cult.

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