Hanuman Finds Sita
Page from a dispersed series of the Ramayana (Legend of Lord Rama)
Artist/maker unknown, India
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Prince Rama is helped in his quest to rescue his wife Sita by a monkey ruler and his army. The heroic monkey-general Hanuman becomes Rama's most ardent devotee, earning him divine status in his own right. In this image, Hanuman is depicted with the red face and rusty fur of a rhesus macaque, one of India's two most common breeds of monkeys. The scene shows Hanuman after he has stealthily breeched the demon's fortress on Lanka to discover Sita, who is being guarded by a demoness. With his long monkey hands, Hanuman gently touches Sita's feet-a gesture of great respect in India-while she pats his head affectionately. His red skirt modestly covers the rhesus macaque's notoriously rosy bottom.