The persona of Hanuman, the Monkey God of Indian pantheon, is so charismatic that his images have continued to appear extensively through the ages in various media, be it as powerful son of the Wind God or the devoted servant of Lord Ram or with Narayan and so on. Artists and artisans have used a variety of media like terracotta, stone, bronze, ivory and wood for making diverse iconographic forms of Hanuman in innumerable temples across the country. In addition to sculptures and idols, Hanuman's popularity has reached almost every household in the form of paintings on paper, cloth, wood, papier mache, print version and even in embroidery form. With India's rich and vast embroidery traditions, it could be impossible for the Monkey God to not make an appearance in them. Since it is not possible to discuss Hanuman in all kinds of embroideries, the focus here is on the embroidered coverlets of western Himalayan region. Several embroidered coverlets of around 18th-19th centuries from this region show different forms of Hanuman, but here only three forms of the deity, as appear in the embroidered coverlets from the collection of National Museum (further NM), are the topic of discussion. Prior to getting into details, here follows a brief overview of Hanuman's mention or presence in Indian literature, plastic arts and Pahari embroidery tradition.
HANUMAN IN LITERARY AND PLASTIC ART FORMS
`Hanuman' or `Mahakapi' mentioned in the epics and Puranic literature might have c...