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Sculpture - Sculpture


  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Coimbatore (made)

  • Date:

    12th Century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India, 1898-1905

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The monkey deity, general of the monkey army and staunch ally of Rama in his war with Ravana, the demon-king of Lanka, as described in the epic Ramayana. Hanuman is worshipped as a minor god attending Visnu as Rama, akin in status to Garuda, Visnu’s bird-vehicle (vahana). He is also venerated as an independent folk-deity, much admired for the high human virtues he displays, most notably bravery and loyalty. His physical strength and prowess has earned him the role of patron-deity of wandering acrobats and wrestlers. Images in his honour are a regular feature of rural settings and wayside shrines. In the context of temple Hinduism, Hanuman forms part of a four-part ensemble along with Rama, his brother Laksmana and his wife Sita. Processional bronzes such as this would be expected to have belonged to such a group.

The part-human figure of Hanuman flexes slightly forward in humility and gestures obeisance with his raised hand, expressing respect for his god. He wears a short waist-cloth, finely patterned, and an ornate girdle and sash, the latter tied in projecting bows at the hips. The hair is in neat tresses and curls, capped with a small circular crown ornament and he wears jewellery, including circular earplug ornaments, and a sacred cord. This figure achieves a touching humility and tenderness rarely encountered in late Chola art.

The figure is fixed to a thinly cast circular lotus pedestal (padmapitha). The presence of encrusted carbonate material in the surface patina indicates a period of burial. This image was one of a group discovered at Coimbatore, in Kongunadu, and presented to Lord Curzon of Kedleston during his term as Viceroy of India, between 1898 and 1905.

Physical description

A standing monkey deity with the trunk slightly bent forward and the right hand raised in the gesture of making obeisance. He wears a patterned loincloth and an ornate girdle and sash, the latter tied in projecting bows at the hips. The hair lies close to the crown in neat tresses and curls, capped with a small circular ornament or disc. Other details include patra-kundala ear pendants, keyura armlets, elbow bracelets and a beaded sacred cord and waistband. The figure is fixed to a circular lotus pedestal (padmapitha), very thinly cast. The presence of encrusted carbonate material in surface crevices suggests that the image has at some time been buried in the earth.

Place of Origin

Coimbatore (made)


12th Century (made)



Materials and Techniques



Height: 41 cm, Width: 19 cm, Depth: 19 cm

Object history note

Part of the treasure trove excavated at Coimbatore, Madras Presidency around the 15th Century. Formed part of the collection made by Lord Curzon of Kedleston (KG, GCSI, GCIE, DCL) during his term as Viceroy of India from 1898-1905. Displayed (on loan) at Bethnal Green Museum from 1906 and later bequeathed by Lord Curzon to the V&A in 1927.

Descriptive line

Standing Hanuman, copper alloy, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, south India, 12th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

'Eastern art objects: Catalogue of a collection lent by Lord Curzon of Kedleston', HMSO, London, 1910, p.20, Case 14, no 10 (213).
R Nagaswamy, 'Kongu Bronzes in the V&A Museum', Lalit Kalam nos 13-14, 1967-69, fig 7.
.209, Cat.167
L'escultura en el temples indis : l'art de la devoció : exposició organitzada per la Fundació "La Caixa" i el Victoria & Albert Museum, Londres. [Barcelona: Obra social, Fundació "la Caixa", c2007 Number: 9788476649466
Guy, J., 'Indian Temple Sculpture', London, V&A Publications, 2007, p.157. pl.177.
p. 204, cat. no. 380
In the image of man : the Indian perception of the universe through 2000 years of painting and sculpture : [exhibition / organized by Catherine Lampert assisted by Rosalie Cass]. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson :in association with the Arts Council of Great Britain, 1982 Number: 0297780719, 0297781243 (pbk.)
No. 3
Haworth-Booth, Mark; Indian Sculpture: A Travelling Exhibition, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 1971
Dehejia, Vidya, Eskanazi, John, and Guy, John. Chola: Sacred Bronzes of Southern India. London : Royal Academy of Arts, 2006. ISBN 10:1-903973-83-X / 13:978-1-903973-83-7 / 10:1-903973-84-8 / 13:978-1-903973-84-4. p. 127, cat. 24.

Labels and date

Copper alloy
Reportedly excavated at
Coimbatore, Tamilnadu
South India
Late Chola period
c. 12th century [25/09/2000]

Production Note

Tamil Nadu, South India


Copper alloy


Hinduism; Sculpture


South & South East Asia Collection

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