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Hanuman with Rama and Sita in his heart

Creation date: ca. 1880
Creation place: India

Other Information

Type: Watercolor Painting
Medium and Support: Watercolor on paper
Credit Line: Edwin Binney 3rd Collection
Accession Number: 1990.1439
State/Province: West Bengal
Dimensions: 17 23/32 in. x 10 13/16 in. (45 cm x 27.5 cm)


Sotheby's, London, England (July 5, 1965 - July 5, 1965)

Kitty Gregory, London, England (July 5, 1965 - July 5, 1965)

Edwin Binney 3rd, San Diego, California (July 5, 1965 - August 27, 1990)

San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California (August 27, 1990 - )

Label Copy

Ramayana (2003)

Watercolor on paper, ca. 1880
Bengal, Kalighat
Edwin Binney 3rd Collection

There was only one among the warriors assembled on the shore facing Lanka who could cross the waters—Hanuman, Son of the Wind. Hanuman had been unaccustomed to testing his full powers because of the rishi’s curse punishing him for childish pranks, but he was brave and filled with desire to save Sita, and bring Rama and Sita together again. Jambavan, the King of the Bears, summoned Hanuman to perform the deeds he knew him capable of: to make himself as large as he wished, take the ocean in a single step, and then make himself as small as a cat, so he could inconspicuously find where Sita was being kept and let her know that rescue was at hand.

Hanuman stood at the shore, chose his moment, and crossed the waters, shrinking to the size of a cat as he landed on the soil of Lanka. He found his way to the grove of ashok trees, where Ravana had Sita hidden, surrounded by demon women to taunt and frighten her. As Hanuman lay concealed in a tree, he saw the ten-headed Ravana press himself on Sita, first by cajoling and then in anger, and he saw Sita spurn his every effort. He knew he must act quickly, for Sita would surely die under this onslaught, either by her own braid or by Ravana’s anger.

8/25/2017 - Diana Chou
Hanuman vowed wholeheartedly to protect Sita, who is the wife of Rama, so Hanuman was naturally a devotee of Rama as well. Instead of conveying a story, this painting vividly and symbolically reflects Hanuman’s unconditionally loyalty to both Sita and Rama by protecting them with his open heart.

Last Updated: 9/5/2017


This object was included in the following exhibitions:

A Flower from Every Meadow: Indian Paintings from American Collections Asia Society Galleries , 3/21/1973 - 11/11/1973

Arts of South and Southeast Asia The San Diego Museum of Art , 1/20/2017 - 00/00/00


This object has the following bibliographic references:

Mr. Stuart Cary Welch and Mark Zebrowski. A Flower from Every Meadow: Asia House Gallery. New York, New York, 1973
Page Number: 20, Figure Number: 3

Mr. Stuart Cary Welch. A Flower from Every Meadow: Asia House Gallery. New York, New York, 1973
Page Number: 13

Catalogue of Fine Western & Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures, Sotheby & Co.. London, England, July 5, 1965
Page Number: 33, Lot no. 157

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